Hartlepool powerlifter is off to world championships - at 71!

Alex Lee pumping some iron.
Alex Lee pumping some iron.
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Don’t let his age fool you as this 71-year-old is a champion powerlifter.

Alex Lee, of Granville Avenue, Hartlepool, has just returned triumphant from the British Benchpress Championships.

Alex Lee in benchpressing action.

Alex Lee in benchpressing action.

The dad-of-one is the reigning British and European Champion in the Masters 4 - or over 70s - category.

It comes after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago and is still receiving treatment for the disease.

His victory in the equipped and unequipped categories in Lincolnshire at the weekend means he’ll head to the World Championships in South Africa in May.

Unequipped lifting sees the athletes take on the challenge without the special shirt powerlifters wear.

This has been my life – I’ve been doing it for 54 years. I like it so much because it massages my ego.

Alex Lee

It makes a big difference in their lifts, meaning they can lift more weight while wearing the shirt.

Alex can benchpress 120kg – or 264lb – when unequipped but a massive 154kg – or 339lb – when equipped.

In his heyday, Alex could lift 162kg – or 357lb – and around twice his body weight.

Alex, who lives with his partner Sue Davies, has been bench pressing for 54 years and continues his hobby despite having a heart bypass in 1991 and being diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago.

He said: “I’ve won a lot of British and European titles and I’ve also had six world records and seven European records.

“I’m really looking forward to going to South Africa because this is the first time they’ve had a world championship in unequipped lifting.

“This has been my life – I’ve been doing it for 54 years. I like it so much because it massages my ego.”

Alex, who hails from Thornley, worked as a PE teacher before spending 30 years teaching metalwork at Shotton Hall School, in Peterlee. After taking up the sport in 1960 as a teenager, he had taken the British champion crown by 1963.

He has stayed focused on the powerlifting ever since, despite undergoing a quadruple heart bypass in 1991 and then suffering the heartache of losing his wife Valerie just months after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Alex, who is dad to Sarah, added: “I had a heart bypass in 1991 and I was diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago so I have to work a lot harder.

“The medication I take for the cancer suppresses testosterone, which is what lifters need, but I continue to do it because it massages my ego and gives me something to concentrate on.”

Alex trains with the Durham Powerlifters team at Durham Rowing Club and also coaches his fellow team members Dan Worsley, Laura Berry and James Downs, who joined him at the championships last weekend.

Dan will be heading to the European Powerlifting Championships in the under-23 category and Laura took silver in the senior 
category.