Queen's Baton Relay: Deamo Bagugo, a strongman of Nauru

Deamo Bagugo
Image caption Deamo Bagugo is hoping to win the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships later this year

For a country that is only 12 miles in circumference and home to less than 10,000 people Nauru has won a hugely impressive ten gold medals at previous Commonwealth Games.

Weightlifting and power lifting is their forte and I had a chance to speak to one strongman, Deamo Bagugo, as he trained in the island's fire station which doubles up as the gym.

Deamo Bagugo There are three things you need to do in powerlifting - squat, dead lifting and bench press. In weightlifting you have only two, the clean and jerk and the snatch. But both are lifting heavy weights. Powerlifting is heavier weights, but weightlifting is more technical.

Mark Beaumont What age did you start powerlifting?

DB When I was 12 years old, I lifted 200kg (31 stone) in the dead lift. I started doing powerlifting because it is interesting. I always wanted to be strong.

MB You are training here in a fire station. Is that normal or is there a national training facility?

DB It's normal, we only train where the weights are available. If I am lifting heavier weights I go to the fire station. This is the only gym in Nauru that has enough weights for my dead lifting.

MB What is your training for today?

DB My training today will be 262kg (41 stone) dead lifts, three reps, that is all. I am lifting about 80% of my competition weight.

MB What are you training towards?

DB The Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships that is going to be held in New Zealand in December. I am hoping to give Nauru medals and to bring home a world record.

Then, Deamo then took a break from speaking to me to complete his training session. I was very impressed at the weights he was lifting and wondered how he felt.

DB Good. I think it will get me to my 305kg (48 stone) first attempt. My personal best is 317kg (49 stone), which is 5kg (0.8 stone) over the world record, but it's not official because it was at a national competition here in Nauru. I need to make it official in New Zealand. The record is now up 312.5kg (49 stone), which was made this year in the World Championships by a Russian (Alexey Kuzmin).

MB Does he know about you?

DB I don't know if he knows about me, because, you know where we are, we are the smallest island. It is like a tiny dot, you won't even see the shape of this island.

MB If you do this at the Commonwealth championship, they will know where Nauru is then?

DB So that is my aim, to make Nauru recognised. Well for me I want people around the world to recognise us, and I want people around big continents to know where is this guy coming from. Where is Nauru? This is where the strongmen come from. I also want to break records, and even extend it to the limit so no one can ever lift it up in the future. That is my aim.

MB What is the secret for Nauru's strength?

DB I think that is the way life here, once we get that ego to be strong, all we want to do is be strong. From my point I always wanted to be the strongest. Mostly it is how we think. I think I want to be the best lifter, so I try to put that in my mind, that is my determination every day. Mainly commitment, what you think you want to be. To be strong, to meet that standard. We always put in our mind that commitment comes first. To put your mind straight into it.

MB Logically you would think you need to be bigger to lift heavy weights?

DB You don't need to be bigger to lift heavy weights, you need to have that mentality in your mind to lift heavier weights. It depends on one individual's mind if they can lift heavy weights.

So there we are. Deamo is certainly confident, and is just one of many strongmen from the country of Nauru - a nation which will be hoping to make its mark once again in the weightlifting competition during Glasgow next year.

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