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Fitness & Health

18th Jul 2016

Swindon man beats The Mountain to Europe’s Strongest Man title

Laurence Shahlaei is the new champ.

Kevin Beirne

You might not know the name Laurence Shahlaei, but you’ll wish you had.

The Cheltenham-born personal trainer – who is now based in Swindon – has just been named Europe’s Strongest Man after winning the title on Sunday in Leeds.

‘Big Loz’, as he is known, broke Game of Thrones star Hafthor Bjornsson’s two-year run as champion after an impressive display over the course of the championship. Despite a strong showing, the Icelander had to settle for second place.

Among the tasks, Shahlaei lifted a 177kg stone block above his head as well as puling off a 420kg deadlift – second only to fellow Brit Eddie Hall’s world-record deadlift of half a tonne.

And Big Loz set a record of his own on his way to becoming the first Briton to be named Europe’s Strongest Man since Jamie Reeves retained his crown in 1989.

In what Shahlaei described as his favourite event, contestants had to carry the 450kg frame of a Volkswagen Beetle 20 metres as quickly as possible.

“My favourite of the competition was the car walk. Imagine Fred Flintstone running in his car – that was basically me,” he told the BBC after completing the challenge in just 11 seconds.

“I actually broke the world record on that event. They made the car even heavier this year and I managed over a second off my world record – which was really, really good.”

“I’ve had a rough few years with injuries and to come back and win Europe’s Strongest man has just meant the world to me,” he said.

“There’s five different events that you have to do. I did a 420 kilo dead lift, which was good enough for joint second and then we did a frame carry – it’s a race and you’re running a 20-metre course while carrying 450 kilos, which is close to 90 stone, and I won that event.”

You can’t say the 6ft 2in, 22st behemoth didn’t earn it.