Strongman competitor Chris Colbert, a student with The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) claimed second place at the weekend at ‘West Yorkshire’s Strongest Man and Woman’ competition.

Chris, who was registered blind at the age of four, is studying a Personal Training course at the College and credits his tutor Aaron Rees, for getting him involved in strongman challenges.

At Chris’ first competition last year – Doncaster’s Strongest Man 2019 – he came in at eleventh place but, lockdown happened and allowed Chris more time to properly focus on his training and it’s really paid off with a podium finish. This is even more impressive, given that Chris was the only competitor with a visual impairment (VI).

This is the first of three competitions that Chris is training for. Next up is ‘England’s Most Powerful Man 2020’ which, all being well, will take place on 3 October.

He is also spurred on to raise funds for an upgrade to RNC’s on-site student gym which is specially adapted for use by the students for their general fitness as well as those studying for sports and personal training qualifications.

‘The student gym is a vital part of the facilities here at RNC, both for teaching and general fitness for the students,’ explains Aaron Rees, Teacher in Charge of Sports and Recreation, ‘But it requires specialist kit due to the VI needs of its student community and those training to become sports/personal trainers need access to the latest equipment that they’ll be working with, once they qualify and leave RNC for new jobs.’

Following Sunday’s competition, Chris said:

‘I’m thrilled, surprised and exhausted in equal measure and looking forward to a well deserved rest and replenishing my energy with a family sized bucket of fried chicken before training starts up again.’

Chris hopes that the public will get behind his tough training schedule and donate towards the new student gym via his JustGiving pages. ‘I am 100% committed, determined and raring to go so please donate to my appeal and this will make me work even harder,’ says Chris. 

Photography by Brian Lancaster, Castleford’s Photography Workshops