British champ Balal has eyes on world prize

February 2016

Sports student Balal Ahmed has weighty ambitions after winning the British junior title for the classic bench press. 

Super-strong Balal, from Birmingham, scooped the 105 kilogram weight category in the Great Britain Powerlifting Federation’s competition in Horncastle, Lincolnshire. 

Now the 22-year-old Sport and Fitness Studies undergraduate has been selected to compete in the World Classic Bench Press Championships in Potchefstroom, South Africa, in May.

Balal, one of the University’s Sporting Excellence Scholarship recipients, hopes to be able to raise the additional funds required to get to South Africa and go head-to-head with the world’s best junior athletes. 

The student started boxing from the age of 11 but decided to switch sports to weight training when he was 16. “I started with bodybuilding in general but I got bored. The training had no purpose behind it,” says Balal. 

“I discovered I liked strength training the most. My strength progressed really quickly compared with my peers,” says Balal. 

He specialises in the bench press, squat and deadlift and started competing in 2014, winning the first regional event he entered. Successive victories boosted Balal’s confidence and he now trains six days a week. 

“I stick to my programme. I have done a lot of research and weight training forms part of my course work. My training gives me an edge in my studies,” adds Balal.