Dean Bowring has added yet another medal to his bulging trophy cabinet.
The Gosport ace secured bronze at the European Championships in Pilsin, Czech Republic, after a strong finish in the heavyweight competition.
It was a fitting reward for the British record holder and reigning national champion, who had to withdraw from last year’s Euros with a career-threatening injury.
A trapped nerve in his hip last spring prevented the former world champion from even walking properly.
But, showing true grit and determination, Bowring defied the odds to get back on to the podium.
‘I was really chuffed, to be honest – I’m still sticking in there,’ said Bowring.
‘I was in sixth place right up until the end and then after the last lift I went up into third. It was really close.
‘I am still suffering a little with the leg, though.
‘And the squat lift, which is the first lift and the one which hurts the most, was the one I didn’t do so well on.
‘If I’d had a real fantastic day, though, I would have been up there challenging for first and second.’
Bowring hopes to improve on his third place as he prepares for the British Championships in July and the scene of his greatest triumph – the World Championships – in November.
However, in the long-term future, the 37-year-old, who trains at Lloyd Vine Lesiure Centre, would like to help others make the grade in the sport he dearly loves.
‘I’m hoping to get more into coaching,’ he said.
‘There are quite a few youngsters who have come in to the gym, yet I’m so focused on what I’m doing I can’t help them as much as I’d like to.
‘I’d like to spend more time working with them.
‘They may be doing something a bit wrong and I can obviously show them the way to do it right.’
Bowring also admitted he’s considering a break from international competition after November, with the amount of travelling proving difficult.
‘I’m hoping to take a lay-off from the internationals for a while,’ said Bowring.
‘The travelling is becoming a bit of a drudge, really.
‘The competitions are always really professional.
‘I’m getting a lot of sleep, making sure I eat the right things but that means I only really see the inside of my hotel.
‘I don’t get to see much of where I am.
‘When I turn 40, though, I can become a master, where you get to pick and choose which tournaments you take part in.
‘Then, maybe I can just look at the nice places where they are held and compete in those ones, take the wife and the family and make it more of a holiday.
‘At the moment, competing is strictly professional.
‘When you’re a master it doesn’t matter so much about winning or losing, you can enjoy it.’