Canadian soldier lifts his way to Canada’s Strongest Natural Man competition in Calgary

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Article / September 1, 2017 / Project number: c-ar-17-08-31

By 2nd Lieutenant Philip Ngo, 4th Canadian Division Public Affairs

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Kingston, Ontario — Physical training has always been a key component in the profession of arms. It allows soldiers to perform at their best, maximizing the ability of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to defend Canada at home and abroad.

Master Corporal Andrew Roach is a member of 21 Electronic Warfare Regiment in Kingston, Ontario, and serves as their Chief Transport Dispatcher. Behind the uniform, he is also a competitive athlete, participating in World’s Natural Strongest Man tournaments. His military and personal training helped prepare him for the Eastern Canadian Natural Strongest Man Qualifiers in Gananoque, Ontario where he placed third. This showing on May 13, 2017 earned him a spot to compete at the Canadian Hercules national event in Calgary.

This competition consists of various heavy lifting events such as 176 kilogram sandbag lifts, 558 kilogram wheel-barrel dead lifts and transporting items that weigh up to 186 kilograms in each hand. The top three competitors will qualify to compete at the World’s Natural Strongest Man competition.

MCpl Roach says it has been a long journey to get to where he is today. “I have been training for the Strongman competition for six years now, and over the years, I have had so many ups and downs in this sport; but all the hard work has paid off,” he said while competing in Calgary.

As natural strongman competitors, athletes such as MCpl Roach must be drug-free for at least 10 years to be eligible to compete. This includes testing for all illicit drugs and performance enhancers such as steroids. The drug-free regulations are heavily enforced to maintain the integrity of Natural Strongest Man competitions. Competitors at this level may even earn a chance to compete at the highest level of competition; namely representing Canada at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Other participants in the competition have recognized MCpl Roach’s military service. “The competitors in Calgary had nothing but respect knowing that I was a serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces,” he said. “My intent is to demonstrate that our military supports my athletic goals.”

The CAF provides soldiers with the opportunity to pursue sports and represent the nation in professional athletics, and CAF bases provide well-equipped facilities, programs and coaching to enable members to perform at their very best.

“I feel I could not have made it this far in the Strongman competitions without the support of the military, as we get the time to train in top-of-the line gyms,” said MCpl Roach. “I am a very proud military member, and would like to thank the military for all that they have helped me with.”

As the Canadian Hercules competition came to a close, MCpl Roach placed fourth overall and less than one point away from the podium. He continues to train hard for next season and compete again for the podium in 2018. 

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