HE’S pushed his body to the limit after being put through his paces by the world’s most battle-hardened soldiers.
And now Andy Gatenby is hoping to be the last man standing when BBC Two’s Ultimate Hell Week challenge draws to a tense conclusion tomorrow.
The 28-year-old dad-of-one, who retired from boxing last year, has got down to the last six on the show, which sees recruits put through a series of brutal challenges that are based on special forces’ selection methods.
Thirty of the fittest men and women in the UK started the contest and have been whittled down each week in a series of punishing endurance challenges.
Among the challenges for contestants in the six-week series was removing a Land Rover from a mud pit with their bare hands.
Andy has had to endure constant exercise drills, impossible mind games, lonely enforced marches, escape and evade exercises, interrogation drills and lots of pain along the way.
The show, filmed at a military base in Wales, has been constructed to reflect selection processes used by special forces, including the US Navy SEALs, the Philippine’s Naval Special Operations Group, the Russian Spetsnaz, as well as the UK’s SAS.
On reaching the final, Andy, who works as a commercial gas engineer and lives in Cuthbert Road, Fratton, said: ‘It’s amazing. The calibre of people I beat to get to that position – it’s overwhelming.
‘They had some of the best athletes in the UK from all different backgrounds.
‘It was by far the hardest thing I have experienced.
‘I have done 10 marathons in a week and had professional boxing fights.
‘Nothing comes close to how difficult it was. It was so relentless. There was no time for your body to recover.’
Andy believes his gritty determination has seen him through the show.
‘I’m definitely not the fastest, not the fittest and not the strongest,’ he said.
‘But I don’t give up at anything I do. That’s what I had written on my locker “I won’t give up”.
Andy remained tight-lipped about how he fares. He added: ‘In the final you are going to see interrogation, there’s an escape and evade exercise. They throw everything at us to break us.’
The show starts at 9pm tomorrow.