A TEENAGE powerlifting sensation is hoping to take the world by storm, as he gears up to fight for a world championship later this year.
Gosport lad Ray Bowring, 16, will be taking part in the Junior World Powerlifting Championships in Canada in August - and believes that he stands 'a pretty good chance' of winning.
The teenager has been training and competing since he was 13 years old, winning a number of national championships and also placing high in European events.
The 16-year-old, who trains at Fitness 24 in Aerodrome Road, can max out at squatting a whopping 250kg.
He said: 'I've always been a sport person with football and rugby at school, but I'm not the right build for that sort of sport.
'My dad was a powerlifter; I went to the gym with him when I was 13 and it all just took off from there.'
Ray's father, Dean Bowring, is more than just a powerlifter though - in 2009, he was also crowned the Indian IPF World Champion in the super-heavyweight category.
Since he started competing, Ray has been crowned the under-18s British Powerlifting Champion three times, the South Midlands Champion for 120kg+ category and won a bronze medal in last year's European championships.
Yet through all of this, Ray is still ploughing through his schoolwork, reaching his target grades for his GCSEs and striking a perfect balance between school and competing.
'I had to turn down the European championships because of my GCSEs,' he said, 'which is fair enough.
'The school has been really understanding about it all and I'm incredibly grateful for that.'
But it was Ray's refusal of the European championships that led to his invitation to the world championships, which he says is a 'surreal' feeling.
Ray is 'really excited' for the world championships in August - and claims that with his max squat being so high for his age bracket, there's a strong possibility that he could even come first.
'I've had an incredible support network around me, from my dad to my school and the staff at Fitness 24,' he said.
'I believe I can win - anything is possible.'
Unfortunately for Ray, Sport England does not provide funding for powerlifters so the £4,000 for travel to the event has to be funded by other means.
Ray's gym, Fitness 24, has started to crowdfund for the competition.
The gym's owner, Mark Quainton-Davis, said: 'Ray has been at this gym since it first opened and is a real inspiration.
'He's so humble and is happy to get stuck in with helping other people out.
'To be his age and that dedicated is just incredible - he deserves so much more recognition.'
To support Ray go to gofundme.com/cabyt-junior-world-championships