Irish title hat-trick for Strabane’s Mark Burke

MARK Burke was delighted to return to competition at the weekend when he claimed a third Irish title in the sport of strongman.
The Strabane man claimed the Irish under-95kg crown in Kilkenny on Sunday when he was also third in the Ulster standings in the open weight category.
He also managed to achieve his main aim for the weekend, which was to qualify for the open Ireland’s Strongest Man competition which will take place in Bangor on August 15th and that will be broadcast on RTE and Sky Sports.
He qualified for that prestigious event by finishing in the top six overall in fifth out of 24 competitors after
 a gruelling few hours of strongman events, including an 18 ton lorry pull, sandbag throw (hurling 16kg to 22kg bags of sand over a 5.5 metre high bar), car deadlift, paolo axle wheels (essentially lifting a railway train wheel over your head) and the daunting Atlas Stones.
Despite the demanding nature of that event, Mark won’t be resting up as he was training in his garden gym the next day and he will travel to Scotland this weekend to compete in the Strength Games in Edinburgh.
He will use that as part of his preparations for the Ireland Strongest Man competition next month, which will see him up against the massive men who compete in the World’s Strongest Man that you may have seen on television.
And he’s under no illusions that, as one of the smaller competitors – at 5’8” and under-95kg that victory might be out of reach on this occasion.
“In my weight category I’m the best in Ireland but the goal was to get to the open. I’m not sure what I can achieve there because the guys are  quite big, some of them are double my bodyweight. I’d like to not look out of place, look that I belong there,” he explained.

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