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Powerlifter Charlie McGonigle’s yarn of care homes, cancer and world titles

„Watch what’s written on the bottom,“ says Charlie McGonigle, handing over a trophy and pointing to an inscription. „Survey it? They’ve written ‚Mountainous C‘!“

McGonigle throws his head succor and roars with laughter. „Mountainous C! That’s me! And Mountainous C got the Mountainous C!“ he yells. „You couldnae originate it up!“

Or no longer it’s correct likely the most a lot of moments in the 20-300 and sixty five days-frail Glaswegian’s company that confounds expectation.

He is eloquent and considerate, but he became as soon as suspended from St Imprint’s Critical and St Andrew’s Secondary in the city’s east quit „plenty of times“, an announcement rather then a boast, as he now concedes he became as soon as „a cheeky wee…“ You glean the image.

He spent a huge section of his childhood in care, eradicated from his family at 10 over issues about his unhappy weight-reduction design and burgeoning weight. He became as soon as 15 stone at the age of 11.

But, for all that, McGonigle is amazingly shut to his mum, who insisted he could per chance likely per chance moreover quiet proceed going to the comparable college, which intended a 150-mile on every day basis college bustle alongside with his care workers from Dumfries.

The temptation could per chance likely per chance moreover be to display screen him as having often been immobile, but he became as soon as Scotland Beneath-16s‘ tighthead prop earlier than a fright variety out in a sport against Wales ended his nascent profession.

„Each and every my knees popped out,“ he remembers. „The Scottish Rugby doctor suggested me I would never be ready to bustle at the extent they’d need me to. And that became as soon as that.“

Two years in the past, a bout of fisticuffs ended in a health facility high-tail to. As his nostril became as soon as being re-just, the doctor suggested he be tested for a growth on his neck. The diagnosis? Hodgkin lymphoma, stage two, meaning two or more lymph node groups had been tormented by the cancer, above or under the diaphragm.

The radiotherapy worked, though it resulted in hair loss and lowered his correct-sided pectoral muscle by one-tenth of its mass. „They suggested me there could be an 80% probability the cancer will return,“ he says topic-of-factly. „I will beat it again then an‘ all.“

McGonigle poses for a characterize at his First Communion

‚Care homes made me who I’m‘

Care homes, injuries, cancer. But there could be something else about McGonigle – he’s an global champion powerlifter, an global-document holder to boot. And he retained his title most efficient 9 weeks after finishing his medicine at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.

McGonigle’s winces at the violent repute of his frail stamping grounds of Tollcross and Parkhead, but thinks things have improved dramatically.

After years of care dwelling and supported lodging, he’s now living independently or, as he puts it, „take care of a boss“. On his first night in his recent dwelling in Ruchazie, there became as soon as a shooting in his boulevard. But all has been unruffled since.

In a contradictory moment, standing on the grounds of his old major college, he breaks off discussing his experiences in care to cry affectionately to his uncle.

There is now not at all times a ticket of bitterness with either the authorities or his family that he became as soon as taken in to care, shifting from Glasgow to Stirlingshire, two homes in Dumfries & Galloway and sooner or later supported lodging in Nitshill on Glasgow’s south facet.

„Or no longer it’s made me who I’m this day,“ he says. „I wouldnae swap it. I’m stronger for it. Me and my mum frail to head shooting targets, the cinema, arrangement never-ending stuff together. I would be with my family at any time.

„The care surroundings has its united states of americaand downs. With Craigbrock and Blackburn [care homes], or no longer it’s a customary dwelling but or no longer it’s no longer at all times realistic. We’re failing early life as a consequence of you are giving them an unrealistic everyday life after which they’ll be in a flat themselves.

„I’m fortunate that I even have family that I even have if fact be told shut bonds with who’re all the arrangement via the nook from me, but there are other early life who’ve no one.“

Detrimental vibes at the Devil’s Pork Bathtub

McGonigle returned to his pondering place of living, the Devil’s Pork Bathtub, alongside with his 2017 British and World T3 Powerlifting trophies

McGonigle rails against the perception of care homes being for „playful of us who’ve carried out something inaccurate“, claiming that the elephantine majority „are there due to the things they would per chance per chance likely per chance now not have helped“.

His favourite living for contemplation when in care in Dumfries became as soon as the dramatic panorama of the Devil’s Pork Bathtub, correct exterior Moffat.

Novelist Sir Walter Scott described it as „a damned deep, shaded, blackguard-having a see abyss of a gap“ but for McGonigle it is „a magical place of living, fully pretty“.

He says: „I could per chance likely per chance moreover never get a place of living where I could per chance likely per chance moreover correct sit and listen to nothing and relax. Then I became as soon as brought here by one of my workers people and I correct esteem it. It makes you’re feeling proud to be Scottish.

„I will sit on the grass on a heat summer’s day, and even when or no longer it’s snowing, and I will contain about the things that prefer to be idea about – and the stuff that would now not.

„I correct let it high-tail. It became as soon as as if I became as soon as physically letting it high-tail. The Devil’s Pork Bathtub is where I open my negative vibes.“

McGonigle stumbled on peace on this rural living, but moreover stumbled on consolation in meals. At 16, he weighed 32 stone. Removed from easing his weight complications, he had doubled in size since stepping into to care.

„A lot of of us advise, ‚I even have an misfortune with my weight‘,“ he says. „I correct had an misfortune staying out the fridge. Meals became as soon as take care of a pastime.“

Dropping eight stone via bodybuilding

Joe Kevan says McGonigle reignited his esteem for weightlifting

But his life changed, again, when a recent manager arrived at his care dwelling. Ian – or as he’s higher known, Joe – Kevan, became as soon as a old bodybuilder who had returned to work in the care sector.

„Or no longer it’s no longer at all times recent for early life in care, being a long way off from family and pals, that entire consolation ingredient in meals,“ says Kevan. „His weight became as soon as if fact be told moderately dangerous. The closing ingredient I wanted became as soon as for it to impress on his health.“

Kevan suggested him about his profession in bodybuilding and launched him to weightlifting. McGonigle’s weight dropped between seven and eight stone.

He knowledgeable laborious to master the calls for of the deadlift, the squat and the bench press, powerlifting’s three disciplines. He remembers: „Joe acknowledged, ‚let’s alternate this, let’s glean you in to something you’re taking care of‘.

„I got a deepest coach, nutritional guidelines, knowledgeable for eight months and won my first Scottish title. He started me off, he motivated me and my family backed that up.“

In 2017, he won the British Drug-Free Powerlifting Association title for 16-17 300 and sixty five days olds, the „drug-free“ relating to the federation’s strict suggestions forbidding efficiency-bettering substances.

Within the February of that 300 and sixty five days, he just recent European records and in the November, in Rockland, Massachusetts, he grew to turn out to be his federation’s T3 world champion, the class for 18-19 300 and sixty five days olds.

On high of that, he just recent world records for opponents weighing bigger than 145kg in each and every of the three disciplines.

‚I prefer to interrupt the enviornment document‘

McGonigle trains at the Outcast Barbell Sanctuary, an merely place of living because the manager of his outdated, image-aware commercial gymnasium complained about the blood working down his shins ended in by the friction of the barbell

With life going smartly, he had the shock of the cancer diagnosis in the spring of 2018. His first bout of radiotherapy became as soon as over the summer and, incredibly, by gradual September his elope for meals had returned – but for opponents rather then meals.

Forward of getting the all-definite in October, he determined he wanted to protect his world title and turned to the man he considers to be „the genuine powerlifting coach in Scotland“ – Andy Cairney, who runs the Outcast Barbell Sanctuary in Clydebank.

McGonigle remembers: „I acknowledged to him, ‚I’ve got 9 weeks to the World Championship. I need you to glean me there.‘ He acknowledged, ‚let’s high-tail for it.'“

He grew to turn out to be world champion every other time.

McGonigle did no longer compete in 2019. He realised he had returned too snappy and suffered a spate of injuries, most notably sciatica and knee complications.

Then again, he has been signed by AMG Sports Management, a Scottish company making a repute for itself in the enviornment of martial arts and strongman promotions.

He is focusing on competitions in Clydebank in April and at the Scottish Fitness Expo in October. He’ll compete as a junior till he’s 23, at which level he’ll switch into the senior ranks.

With a deepest supreme in opponents of 280kg, is he hoping to interrupt the enviornment junior deadlift document?

„I’m no longer hoping, I will,“ he states. „The enviornment document is 460 kilos. I could per chance likely per chance take care of to beat it by no longer no longer as much as two kilos, so 462-465 kilos by this time next 300 and sixty five days. And I design to have beaten the 500 kilo document by the level I’m 25.“

That 500kg deadlift document just by Eddie Corridor appears to be like nearly superhuman. McGonigle, though, is now not any customary young man.

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