European gold medal winner Paul McLaren with his proud sons Sean and Conor at the Elevate gym in Clonmel, where he trains.
Clonmel-based Paul McLaren lifted gold for Ireland in Sweden in the first Masters International Powerlifting Federation European championships.
Living in Clonmel now for 14 years, he is married to Clonmel woman Sandra (Connolly). Paul swept all before him in Helsingborg to take gold in an almghty battle with English and Russian lifters for the medals.
A member of the Elevate gym in Clonmel, Paul competed in the 66 kilos category, with his wife Sandra and two boys watching the event from their Clonmel home through a video link.
Seven year-old Conor and nine year-old Sean were allowed leave school early on Friday at the Gaelscoil to cheer on their father and there were jubiliant scenes as Paul took the gold medal for Ireland .
“It was just an incredible feeling, I am so proud to have done so well. It was just an unreal battle to stay ahead of the English lifter for the gold” said Paul.
Paul did nine lifts, three squats, three benches and three deadlifts, performing consistently to finish on top and take the first ever European championships Masters title.
Paul, who put in a seventeen-week preparation for the event, trains at the Elevate gym in Clonmel and he thanked brothers Luke and David Kelly for their support leading up to the championships.
A Tyrone man, Paul has already represented Ireland in the World Championships held in Minsk, Belarus.
In Sweden he was a member of the five-strong Irish Masters team competing in the European championships.
Paul explained that Ireland was relatively new to the sport of powerlifting and this was the first Masters event hosted by the International Powerlifting Federation.
“The two boys and Sandra were thrilled to be able to watch it live. It was a great day” said Paul.
He has now been invited to represent Ireland in the IPF World Championships in Calgary, Canada later this year.