To Redhill resident, Malcolm Bainbridge, age is just a number. He proved it earlier this month in Helsingborg, Sweden, when he took the title of European Masters Powerlifting Champion in the 70-80 year category.
Attending the Championship event with fellow powerlifter and friend, Kevin Payne, 73-year-old Malcolm won an individual gold medal for the deadlift, along with two bronze medals for the bench press and the squat. His combined score for these lifts gave him the overall gold and confirmed his title.
A local plumber, Malcolm trains at the YMCA East Surrey gym in Redhill, where he has found support among the fitness staff and gym members.
“Interest in the sport is really growing right now,” says Malcolm, “particularly with women. It isn’t always easy to find the right facilities and I’ve tried a lot of different places over the years. Here, there is a good set up for weight training – it’s a great community resource and I’m keen to encourage others to get involved.”
Malcolm is a non-smoker and teetotaller, who believes that his clean-living healthy lifestyle plays a vital part in his success.
“It’s important to me to show other people that winning isn’t about taking performance enhancing drugs. I’d like to inspire those who are getting involved in the sport to embrace a clean image,” says Malcolm.
Bitten by the bug as a young man, Malcolm has been powerlifting on and off since he was 21 years old and the sport was a comparatively young one. He has since been to four World Championships, taking the title in 2003, and now trains three times a week, alongside Kevin, for up to eight hours in total.
“I’ve always been competitive,” he admits. “It’s important to me to try and win. I get a lot of satisfaction from comparing my achievements to others and it really pushes me on to train with other like-minded people. I don’t find it difficult – powerlifting is great fun.”
Malcolm has no plans to start taking it easier and, though he also enjoys cycling with Redhill Cycling Club, powerlifting is his passion and his focus is very much on future competitions.
Despite being invited to the 2018 World Championship event in Calgary this June, Malcolm’s next goal will be the 2019 European Masters next March in Hungary.
“After that, Kevin and I will see if we get selected for the 2019 World Championships in Sweden and go from there,” he says.
On his current form, Malcolm’s chances look more than promising.