Not every 62-year-old Yorkshire grandmother can deadlift 170kgs. But retired school teacher Sue Hollands, who lives in Ravensthorpe, near Dewsbury, is not your average granny having conquered the world powerlifting circuit 10 times.
She attends two powerlifting sessions every week to stay fit as the oldest member of the Steelman Powerlifting Club at Future Bodies Gym and Fitness Centre, in Morley, and this year won her tenth IPF World Masters title in the Czech Republic.
The hobby has taken the mum-of-three all over the world to compete in places such as Argentina, South Africa, America and Canada since she took it up at the age of 45.
Within two years she had taken part in her first competition and up until this summer she was chalking up her palms to battle it out against senior lifters aged as young as 23.
“I’m not your average grandmother,” she said. “If there’s something out there you want to do and you enjoy doing it and have the enthusiasm to do it, age shouldn’t be a barrier.”
Sue had never even tried powerlifting before she was invited to the gym with her daughter 17 years ago, but soon she was hooked.
Now classified as an over 60s lifter Sue is in no hurry to hang up her weights and wants to continue competing internationally against the world’s best.
Competitive powerlifting involves a mixture of squats, bench presses and deadlifts, and Sue’s hard work at the sport has led to her excelling in all three.
She said: “I think, at the end of the day, it’s a challenge and somethign to aim for and so it’s something I can do. It doesn’t matter how old I am.
“If you’ve got the technique and ability you can do it, and I just want to keep getting better.”
As well as her 10 world titles, she also has various Commonwealth, European and British medals from nearly two decades of competition.
Former powerlifting world record holder Phil Stringer has been coaching Sue for the past five years following the passing of their late coach Barrie Nelson.
“I think she’s done amazing, she’s 63 this month and she doesn’t look it. She’s quite fit and she does the sport a good turn.
“She’s a good example not only from whatv she can lift but the effort she puts into it.”