Calf wrestling helped me win, says Irish ex-trucker who is now UK's strongest man

CHAMP: Pa O’Dwyer won the title of UK’s Strongest Man. Picture: Brendan Gleeson
CHAMP: Pa O’Dwyer won the title of UK’s Strongest Man. Picture: Brendan Gleeson

Lynne Kelleher

An ex-trucker has told how wrestling calves and lifting foals over his shoulders during his farming childhood helped him clinch the title of UK's Strongest Man.

TV viewers are set to watch Limerick champion Pa O'Dwyer pulling an Arctic truck and doing push-ups with a Porsche 911 to become the first Irish man in 20 years to secure the sought-after title.

The father-of-three - who eats eight raw eggs for breakfast - believes his incredible strength was honed as a young man on his family's farm outside the town of Newcastlewest.

On one occasion, the 32-year-old remembers carrying a sick foal from her hillside field to the farmyard for treatment.

He said: "I put the foal over my shoulders and lifted her up the hill. I grew up on a farm so I think that's where my strength comes from.

"I was wrestling calves when I was 10 years of age and pulling bales of hay and silage around the place. It stands to you later in life."

The six-foot two-inch personal trainer, who eats eight raw eggs for breakfast, has more than doubled his body weight over the past 10 years.

He said: "I'm 23 stone now. I was 11 stone when I was 21 and I started training and started putting on the weight straight away. I ate like a horse."

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In UK's Ultimate Strongman competition, which will be aired on Channel 5 on November 27, 28 and 29 at 7pm, he also picks up 26 granite boulders with his bare hands and uses brute strength to bend an iron bar into U-shape.

The toughest part of regime is having to consume more than 10,000 calories a day.

In the run-up to competition, he can often down fat-laden litres of coke or tubs of ice-cream to keep up the calorie count.

"I eat nearly 10,000 calories a day. Sitting down to a steak dinner at 12 at night is horrible. It's the toughest part of it having to eat so much.

"I eat steak six times a day. Breakfast is eight raw eggs and oats. You do get so sick of it.

"Occasionally, I'll add in two litres of coke or a tub of ice cream if I need to up the calorie count.

"I get the bloods done three or four times a year. I'm healthy as a horse.

"I'm never hungry because I eat every two or three hours."

He said: "It is the first time in 20 years an Irish man has won the competition.

"I'm three times Ireland's strongest man and this year I became the UK's strongest man."

Over the years he has had a litany of injuries but the most serious was a dislocated bone in his back last year during the second day of a three-day competition.

He said: "I went back on the third day and just got on with it. It's a strongman competition, you don't complain!"

And he said he disarms other competitors with his Conor McGregor-style confidence.

Sunday Independent

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