Special Olympics: Power lifter harbours big ambitions

Clayton Marr (Nelson) is not as big but has aspirations to be as strong as the Hulk.

The comic book superhero gave Marr inspiration as he trained for the National Summer Games.

It worked at the Edgar Centre yesterday when Marr (23) won the gold medal in the 74kg bench press with a personal best 85kg.

He narrowly missed his attempt at 90kg. Marr also won a gold medal in the bench press at the last Summer Games in Palmerston North four years ago.

''It was awesome to win the gold. I felt fantastic today,'' he said.

Marr has been competing in powerlifting for six years and is the star pupil of coach Nigel Burgess.

''Clayton has short arms and great levers,'' Burgess said.

''He just loves lifting weights and has the right attitude.''

His parents, Sophie and Jeff, were giving moral support from the sidelines.

''The sport has given Clayton lots of confidence,'' his mother said.

''He is a bit of a showman and he loves it. He has made lots of friends along the way.''

Jeff Marr recognises the difference that Special Olympics has made to his son.

''All the Special Olympic sports are fantastic. It gives the kids purpose and something to do,'' he said.

''Most of them don't have jobs, so it gives them something special in their lives. They put a lot of effort into it.''

Marr proudly wears the New Zealand singlet he earned when he competed at the Special Olympics World Games in Athens two years ago, when he won a gold medal in the bench press and bronze in the dead lift.

Bayfield High School pupil Bradley Caffell (Otago) won a gold medal in the squat in the 80kg class with a personal best lift of 115kg.

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