Meet the 14-year-old schoolboy who can deadlift more than twice his body weight and dreams of being a Crossfit champ

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A determined Sunderland lad could be one of the strongest 14-year-olds in the world and can deadlift 170kg – more than 26 stone.

Josh Bland has been CrossFit training since he was 11-years-old, eagerly awaiting his 14th birthday when he would be able to compete in weightlifting.

When the time finally came, the pandemic has meant competitions are postponed and instead the teenager has been training hard in the family’s makeshift gym.

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At just 14-years-old, Josh, of Silksworth, can deadlift 170kg (26st 7lbs), bench press 95kg (14st 9lb) and squat 135kg (21st 2lbs).

Young weightlifter Josh BlandYoung weightlifter Josh Bland
Young weightlifter Josh Bland

Training alongside dad Eddy Bland and big brother Nathan, 19, the Farringdon School pupil remains determined to keep building.

Proud dad, 48-year-old Eddy said: “He just keeps outdoing my expectations, it’s almost week after week he’s getting a new personal best.

"It’s what he wants to do in life – be a professional crossfitter.

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"He’s been training for three years waiting to compete when he was 14 and now he is old enough to compete he can’t because of covid.”

Young weightlifter Josh Bland, 14, with older brother Nathan and dad Eddy.Young weightlifter Josh Bland, 14, with older brother Nathan and dad Eddy.
Young weightlifter Josh Bland, 14, with older brother Nathan and dad Eddy.
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At 5ft9 and weighing 68kg, the schoolboy can deadlift more than two-and-a-half times his body weight.

An American teenager holds the current world record for the heaviest deadlift for a 14-year-old at 160kg – which is 10kg less than Josh’s personal best.

"There's a world record of 808lbs for a 14-year-old that's stood for a few years and he’s classed as the strongest 14-year-old in the world on Google,” added Eddy.

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Josh Bland with NathanJosh Bland with Nathan
Josh Bland with Nathan

“The record is for combined bench press, squat and deadlift. Josh has a combined weight of 882lbs - 74lbs better than the world record.”

Both Josh and big brother Nathan are hoping to qualify for the European CrossFit Finals later this year.

"Josh trains twice a day,” said Eddy who runs The Golden Fleece in Silksworth.

“We bought the pub just before the second lockdown and since we can’t open we’ve turned part of the beer garden into a gym.

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Young weightlifter Josh Bland has been training since he was 11Young weightlifter Josh Bland has been training since he was 11
Young weightlifter Josh Bland has been training since he was 11

"He still has all of this motivation to train over the last year while there’s not really a light at the end of the tunnel, a set competition to train for.

“To qualify in May he will have to be in the top 15 teenagers so he’ll be competing against 16 and 17-year-olds – he is an outsider but he’s determined."

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