COMPETITORS faced-off on the banks of the River Wear for a test of strength.
Durham Amateur Rowing Club was the venue for this year’s Yorkshire and North East (YNE) Classic Benchpress Championships on Saturday.
A field of 25 men and women lifters aged from 17 to 70 took part with the aim of being crowned YNE Divisional Champion and secure a place in the British Championships.
Jim Dulling, chairman of Durham Powerlifters, which promoted the competition, said: “It’s the third time we’ve hosted it.
“Records are being smashed, records which have existed for a number of years – all the talent from the north is here.
“The winners of this go to the nationals, the winners of that go to the Europeans – so this is the first step on the ladder to representing your country.”
Sunderland couple James and Louise Withington, from St Peter’s, took part in the competition. Louise, 27, who is British and Commonwealth champion, said: “I always look forward to it but it’s hard work dieting.
“I lifted 60 kilos and it felt easier than it has done in the past. It’s down to practising and good coaching.”
Husband James, 30, who won the 66 kilo senior category, added: “It’s the second time we’ve done it here and it’s been a good event each time. Year on year it’s becoming more popular.” The trophies for Best Lifters were produced by North East sculptor James Armstrong, who specialises in using mechanical parts in his work.
The British Championships will be held in Northumberland on the weekend of March 9 and 10.
Durham Powerlifters, which has been running for eight years, meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday morning at Durham Amateur Rowing Club in Green Lane.