She’s a 65-year-old grandma – and world champion powerlifter.
Sue Hollands is back home in Ravensthorpe after landing her 12th world title at the IPF World Master Powerlifting Championships at Sundsvall in Sweden.
She competed in the M3 – over 60s – class in the 84kg-plus bodyweight category and battled against an American lifter to take the title of M3 World Champion Powerlifter.
Sue also took the trophy for the Best Lifter among the M3 females competing and helped her teammates secure the third place team trophy for the M3 Great Britain team.
During the competition, she was surprised when husband Tony and son Luke paid a flying visit – arriving the evening before her lift, watching her triumph and then heading back home after lunch.
And she got another surprise when she returned home to discover she’d also broken five Commonwealth records – lifting 87.5kg and 92.5kg on the bench press; 180kg on the squat; 170kg on the deadlift and 442.5kg total.
Sue will be competing again in two weeks’ time at the Yorkshire and North East Powerlifting Federation event at Ashington, Northumberland, and next January in the British championships in Horncastle, Lincolnshire.
The former teacher at St Thomas School, Bradley, entered her first competition in 1999 at the age of 47 after being introduced to the sport by a couple who attended St Thomas’ Church.
Sue and Marie visited the gym and tried out the treadmills. When they made their next visit, they were introduced to powerlifting – and were bitten by the bug.
Although Marie no longer takes part, she continues to help Sue prepare for competitions. The powerlifting pensioner is supported by the family – husband Tony, grown-up sons Luke, Simon and Adam and daughter Marie. Sue and Tony also have two grandchildren, Molly, aged four, and 17-month-old Neve.
Sue trains twice a week with the Steelman Powerlifting Club at Future Bodies gym in Morley, where she is coached by Phil Stringer.
She permits herself the odd treat, like a bar of chocolate or a packet of crisps, but makes sure her diet includes fresh fruit and vegetables, chicken and tuna. “As competition time nears, I make sure I eat more of the good things and less of the bad things,” she said.
And she’s as enthusiastic as ever about her sport. “When I started doing it, the man who coached us had such an excitement about the sport which rubbed of on us,” she said. “We got excited about it and about competing. He always said ‘it doesn’t have to be a Russian who holds the world record!’ Two years ago I did hold the world record for my age group.”