Head teacher retains powerlifting title

image copyrightLynda Banks
image captionLynda Banks took up powerlifting three years ago

A primary school head teacher has retained a British powerlifting championship title for the third year running.

Lynda Banks, 51, competes in the sports' Masters 2 class, which is open to 50 to 59-year-old competitors.

The head of Inverness' Smithton Primary retained her title at the GB Powerlifting Masters Classic Championships in Belfast.

Ms Banks only started competing three years ago at the age of 48.

Since taking up the sport, she has competed in Commonwealth, World and International championship events in Canada, Finland and the US.

She is a Commonwealth Champion and was placed third at last year's World Championship in Texas.

Formerly head teacher at Strathdearn Primary School, in Tomatin, near Inverness, Ms Banks took up the post at Smithon Primary five weeks ago.

Her new pupils learned of her powerlifting abilities during a school assembly held on themes of "trying" and "achievement".

Ms Banks said: "I did a deadlift in front of them.

Lynda Banks' Belfast results

image copyrightLynda Banks

At the GB Powerlifting Masters Classic Championships in Belfast at the weekend, Ms Banks squatted 105kg, 110kg and then 115kg - which broke her previous squat personal best and also GB records by 7.5kg.

Her three attempts in the bench were 55kg, 60kg but she failed to bench 62.5kg.

She then went on to deadlift 127.5kg, 135kg and 145kg. The last was 5kg under what she had lifted before.

Her title winning total of 320kg gave her a new personal best total.

"They then watched a video of me on YouTube deadlifting 150kg for a bronze medal. They burst into applause."

She said: "Some of them, once they were back home, told their mums, dads and grandparents to type 'Ms Banks' into YouTube."

image copyright9 For 9 Media
image captionLynda Banks competes for the GB's powerlifting team

Ms Banks was encouraged to take up power lifting by Gavin Laird, her coach at the gym in Inverness where she trains.

She said: "I had fancied a new challenge and my target had been to do one chin up.

"I tried deadlifting weights and really loved it. After a while I said to Gavin 'how about doing a competition?'."

She has not looked back since her first competition, which was held in Dumfries. She is now hoping for a call up to the GB team for the World Championships in Belarus in June.

The head teacher said she enjoyed being part of the family atmosphere of her sport, and hopes her role in it inspires others to take up powerlifting or other pursuits.

She said: "I love powerlifting. I only wish it was something I discovered 20 years ago."