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ABILITY NEEDS


having a disability is not a barrier to achieving greatness and that disabled people are really just like anyone else. In this issue we are getting up close and personal with Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man, Gary Clarke. Gary Clarke was born in 1977 with Cerebral Palsy and as a child he was educated at Princes Margaret School in Taunton, a school for children with physical and learning disabilities. While at school, despite his disability, Gary had a fondness for sport, particularly track and field athletics and ever since he can remember has always been determined to excel and succeed at whatever challenges are presented to him. Despite excelling at athletics, Gary had always harboured ambitions to be a strongman like his idol Geoff Capes and the other contestants in the World’s Strongest Man competitions. So, after leaving school, Gary wanted to weight train but, due to his adolescence, was unable to pursue it until he reached adulthood. Well, adulthood couldn’t come fast enough for Gary and as soon as he was able to, he set about weight training. Gary often says that it was the best thing he ever did because it gave him the platform to achieve his ambitions.


A Another person who


inspired Gary was Paralympian Anthony Peddle, who won gold in the Sydney games of 2000, a record he held until 2007. After watching Anthony perform some weight lifting feats at Naidex 2001 and being invited to go to the USA PanAm games in Oklahoma his passion for weight lifting and strongman challenges was well and truly alight and he was determined to carve out a name for himself in the world of disabled power sport.


Ability Needs Magazine


Getting to Know You – Gary Clarke


BILITY NEEDS continues with its series of “getting to know you” profiles of inspi- rational disabled people, to illustrate that


However, passion, training and


determination are only part of the recipe for success. To compete in national and international competitions requires funding and, more often than not, a sponsor. Gary was fortunate enough to be sponsored by Impey, the wetroom specialists. Formed in the late 1990's Impey is one of the UK's leading wetroom specialist. Now part of Coram International B.V, Impey products are well renowned for creating innovative designs using the highest quality materials. Impey is very proud to sponsor Gary and help fund his journey to international success. Gary’s determination has


paid off because he is now one of the world’s strongest people. This year Gary will head to Reykjavik, Iceland, to once again compete in the ‘World’s Strongest Disabled Man Contest’, where he hopes to retain his title and beat his personal best scores which are lifting at least 75kg on the Log Lift, 50kg on the Atlas Stones, 45 seconds and 80kg on the Hercules Hold, a 30kg dumbbell press and an impressive Crucifix Hold of over one minute with 10kg weights.


Gary Clarke is a truly


inspirational man who has achieved so much despite his


disability. A disability which, according to Gary, is just a state of mind. Ability Needs wishes Gary all the best of success at this year’s contest and is proud to list him among its “getting to know you” disabled personalities and invite him to take the Ability Needs Interview.


The Interview can be found on page 34 29


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