SEAN COLE has become a double world champion powerlifter at the age of 41 - and is here to stay.
That’s the defiant message from the Portsmouth gym owner after he cleaned up at the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Championships in Telford last month.
It is an achievement made all the remarkable by the fact that Cole quit competitive powerlifting two years ago following a freak blood clot in his left leg.
Not content on simply returning to the sport he loves, the former Royal Navy man came back with a bang, claiming gold-medal glory in the unequipped squat (197.5kg) and unequipped deadlift – thanks to a masters British and world record 245.5kg lift.
It was an achievement humble Cole, who wrote and executed his own rehabilitation programme at SC Vital fitness gym in Farlington, admits surpassed all expectations.
He said: ‘I grafted away in my gym for the last two years to get that up and running, and, in the meantime, I was also training myself to get back into powerlifting.
‘Through injury I came out of the sport after I developed a blood clot in my left leg when I was bitten by an insect.
‘It was just one of those things, although thankfully it doesn’t affect me now.
‘I am a rehab specialist, so I got myself on a rehab course, which I did all myself and then went back into it (powerlifting).
‘And now, at the age of 41, I have managed to come away with squat and deadlift gold medals from the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Championships.
‘I also broke the masters world record in the deadlift. I surpassed my expectations.’
And now Cole is back on top of the world – having previously claimed deadlift glory in 2009 – he is determined to stay there.
In a sport that has been embroiled in its fair share of doping controversies, his stance to compete in stringent testing conditions stems from his naval upbringing.
He said: ‘Without a shadow of a doubt I will be back to defend my world titles in Wales in June next year.
‘I have got the qualifiers in November and December and then the British nationals will be in February.
‘And, if I stay injury free, I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be selected because I should lift well.
‘With regards to competing in the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Championships, they do have a really stringent drug protocol and some other competitions don’t.
‘There is no qualms, you are entered and tested – done.
‘The competition does more testing than any other federation, so you know it is a level playing field.
‘The military is drug free and I was in the Navy for 24 years, so it (competing in a clean environment) is something that has always appealed to me.’