This British Lad Is The World’s Strongest Disabled Man

By : Alex Bentley |


1154 This British Lad Is The Worlds Strongest Disabled Man

The World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition took place recently, and Welsh lad Lee Small was crowned champion, in what was actually his first ever competition.

As it goes, Lee is actually a personal friend of mine, so I caught up with him to talk about his inspirational journey to becoming the worlds strongest man.

Lee hasn’t always been disabled.

It happened in 2004 when I was 17.

I was working on a train track putting cement down, and a when my foot got stuck under the track, the tray from the industrial cement mixer got it.

When I was in hospital I spent time in intensive care, and was technically dead twice.

I’m lucky to be alive.

I had my leg amputated just below the knee, and six months later I had my first NHS prosthetic leg fitted.

He doesn’t have a sports specific limb fitted, because there’d basically be no point. There are two categories in the strongman competition, sitting and standing. Lee performs in the sitting class. If he was to take a step while carrying the ridiculously heavy weight that he does, the prosthetic would just snap!

244 This British Lad Is The Worlds Strongest Disabled Man

For a year or so after it happened, I didn’t know what to do, really. I went into a shell and just stayed in the house all of the time.

The one day it just clicked.

I thought ‘I’m still here. I’m alive. I need to get on with my life.’

I had a bit of counselling which helped me get by, and started going to the gym.

When I started going, it was something to focus on just to get me out of the house. I liked the strength side of things, but I didn’t really have a long term goal with it.

I’ve done powerlifting competitions before, and then I started to read up on disabled strongman competitions.

I only started properly training specifically for this competition about eight or nine months ago.

This was actually my first strongman competition.

The competition took place in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland, at the Viking hotel, in the middle of the Viking Festival!

It was an amazing experience.

We got so much support from everybody… Including vikings, which was a bit mad!

The competition involves ranges of strength events.

The hand over hand truck pull, crucifix hold, log press, Hercules hold, dumbell medley, a modified version of the atlas balls, where you go between each ball in your wheel chair and lift the ridiculously heavy weights.

Log press event, Love this event, It was more inclined up towards the shoulders than last year weight was 85 Kilo / 187 Lbs for reps, 15 I got here, Came second overall Ozor the Beast from hungry got 16 reps, Full length clips will be on my Facebook and YouTube channel soon #StrongManFamily 💥💪 Stay Strong Stay Positive 💪💥 #iamadaptive #5percenter #5percent4life #AdaptiveStrongman #AdaptiveArmy #PowerLifter #Amputee #AmputeesWhoLift #disABILITY #LiveStrong #BSN #NeverGiveUp #NoExcuses #Motivation #Mohican @5percentnutrition @1dayumay #family #whateverittakes #welcometoourworld #loveitkillit #richpiana #1dayumay #5percenters @lsfdeeside #Deeside @iamadaptive @1stphorm #LegionOfBoom #1stphorm, #iam1stphorm, #1stphorm4life, #nextlevelshit @silverbackgymwear_12

A video posted by Lee Small (@strongleeuk) on

For such a competitive competition, the support was incredible.

There were competitors from all over the world. Obviously the Icelandic people love a strongman event, but there were people from across Europe, and a number of lads from America, where the sport is becoming a lot more popular.

The competition worked on a points system, where the better you did in each event, the more points you got. It was broken up so you did two events, then had a break, then two more, and ad another break before the final two events.

At the second break I was in second place, but there was only a very small number of points between the top few people, so it could have gone to any of us.

The thing was, we didn’t know the points of the fifth event, going in to the sixth, so we had no idea where we were in the standings.

I got told that I’d won and I didn’t actually believe them at first!

I went over to the officials, which is when they confirmed it and announced that I had won! I

I couldn’t believe it!

I am officially the World's Strongest Disabled Man, Competition was fierce met some amazing people, Cannot say how thankful I am for the opportunity to meet all of the athletes and compete at such a high level, Now to win the British title in August! Could never have done this without the loving support of my wife @samanthasmall13 pulling me through, Giving me my strength when it's needed 💥💪 Stay Strong Stay Positive 💪💥 #iamadaptive #5percenter #5percent4life #AdaptiveStrongman #AdaptiveArmy #PowerLifter #Amputee #AmputeesWhoLift #disABILITY #LiveStrong #BSN #NeverGiveUp #NoExcuses #Motivation #Mohican @5percentnutrition @1dayumay #family #whateverittakes #welcometoourworld #loveitkillit #richpiana #1dayumay #5percenters @lsfdeeside #Deeside @iamadaptive @1stphorm #LegionOfBoom #1stphorm, #iam1stphorm, #1stphorm4life, #nextlevelshit @silverbackgymwear_12

A photo posted by Lee Small (@strongleeuk) on

It took a little while to hit me properly.

The first thing I did was ring my wife Samantha, she’d have killed me if I told anybody before her!

It was great to be able to tell her the good news.

She put my son on the phone, so I loved talking to him and hearing being excited!

After that I started to call my family and my friends up and tell everybody.

It was an amazing feeling.

The disabled strongman competition isn’t one that gets a great deal of coverage in the media, and Lee is really keen to promote it and push for more people to get involved.

There were some incredible people there.

The lad who won the standing class was actually both blind and deaf. He had a guide tapping him on the shoulder so he knew which side to drop the atlas balls! He was amazing!

Seeing people with cerebral palsy competing to such high levels, and being around other amputees was really inspiring.

I can’t wait for the Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man competition in August now!

Lee is a big advocate of the ‘I am adaptive’ movement, which is rising in popularity, particularly in America.

It’s something that is important to me.

I don’t think of myself as disabled, and I want other people to realised that their disabilty doesn’t necessarily have to hold them back.

Be adaptive.

I’ve become good friends with the event organisers, and we really want to push and promote the sport, and have as many people competing as possible. The more that people get involved, the more that different classes can be created, based on level, strength and disability.

The more the merrier!

Atlas stones was the final event, As with any Strongman comp, 30 Kilo / 50 Kilo / 70 Kilo / 90 Kilo Balls, 66 lbs / 110 lbs / 154 lbs / 198 Lbs Full Video will be on my Facebook and full events will be on my YouTube channel , This event decided the winner, 24 seconds the event took me giving me a clear 6 second lead over any other competitor, I nearly drop the 50 rolling it up off my hand, My adrenaline was really going, Great comp enjoyed every second, Great lads as well, All helped each other, Got each other pumped, Helped each other through our bad times Blessed, #StrongManFamily 💥💪 Stay Strong Stay Positive 💪💥 #iamadaptive #5percenter #5percent4life #AdaptiveStrongman #AdaptiveArmy #PowerLifter #Amputee #AmputeesWhoLift #disABILITY #LiveStrong #BSN #NeverGiveUp #NoExcuses #Motivation #Mohican @5percentnutrition @1dayumay #family #whateverittakes #welcometoourworld #loveitkillit #richpiana #1dayumay #5percenters @lsfdeeside #Deeside @iamadaptive @1stphorm #LegionOfBoom #1stphorm, #iam1stphorm, #1stphorm4life, #nextlevelshit @silverbackgymwear_12

A video posted by Lee Small (@strongleeuk) on

It’s back to reality for Lee now. He isn’t a full time athlete, because there is no money available for funding, so he’s going back to his full time job as a forklift truck driver, and training after work, before going home to his wife and son.

He lives very much a regular life, just like the rest of us. He just lifts a lot heavier, bro.

The support I’ve had has been incredible, and I’m grateful to everybody that has shown any support or interest along the way, or since I got back.

It’s been unreal.

I’m waiting for negative comments to pop up from the trolls, but so far there’s not been any… Not that it’d bother me!

I used to rollerblade with Lee when we were younger, before his accident. Believe it or not he still does it. I bumped into him at a skatepark a couple of years ago, rather naively thinking that because he only has one leg, he had stopped skating. Wrong. He puts his skate onto his prosthetic and goes for it.

It was a bit weird at first. My skate just started going wherever it wanted to I had to adapt a bit and try to counteract with my foot. It’s quite funny actually.

I asked Lee if he had anything he wanted to say, any words of encouragement for anybody that might be in a situation similar to his.

Be adaptive.

You can still do what you want to do if you work hard towards it.

Don’t be afraid to accept help along the way either. You might feel like family and friends are nagging you, but they have your best interests at heart, and it’s constructive.

A photo posted by Lee Small (@strongleeuk) on

So if you’re reading this and you are disabled, or know somebody that is, you can get involved. The Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man 2015 competition is taking place in Stoke-On-Trent on August 29th at the Northwood Stadium. I’m going along to check it out and support Lee.

Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man Competition.