Jaimie Clarke has been taking the Para Powerlifting scene by storm the last seven years, winning awards, medals, and even attaining a rank of 27 in the world. The Kempsey local came across the sport not long after moving to the Macleay, and for him, he says it was a case of love at first sight.
"When I first moved here back in 2007, I met some people who went along to a powerlifting meet, and as soon as I saw it, I knew this was for me, I fell in love with it from day one," he said.
"I started out in the regular able-bodied divisions about 12 years ago; then after about five years, I found out I was eligible for the Para Powerlifting competitions."
Jaimie had a tumour at the tender age of 7, and despite the seriousness of his condition, the powerlifter fought through and now credits it as one of his biggest inspirations for living life to the fullest.
"It was back in the 80s, and medical care isn't what it is today, I reckon I was the guinea pig, ever since then, I've been wanting to push myself, and be everything I can be," he said.
"Things were tough, especially for my family; I had to relearn everything; it was like hitting a reset button."
It has been several decades since his operation to remove the tumour, and the now 37-year-old can lift double his own weight, and his passion for powerlifting has taken him as far afield as Europe.
"I've pumped out 111-112kg at the gym before, but I recently set a personal best of 108kg at the NSPC Wollongong open," Clarke said.
"In 2015, I went over to Europe for the European Open Championships, I didn't do as well as I hoped, the world standard is very high, and the competition was fierce, I'm grateful for the experience though.
"After the competition in Europe, I was ranked 31, but since then, I've climbed up the ladder to 27 in my weight division."
Jaimie is currently eyeing off the Paralympic Games, and while he is unsure which year he will make the prestigious event, he is presently in the planning stage to make his dream a reality.
"At the moment I'm just looking for sponsors and other ways of fundraising. I need to qualify at some national and international events, it will be a long road, but I've always wanted to go all the way and take this to the pinnacle of the sport," he said.
Jaimie trains out of the Hills Gym at 25 Cochrane St, Kempsey. Anybody looking to help out Jaimie with sponsorship or fundraising for his Paralympic Games bid can contact him on 0418 883 221.
Stay ahead with local news by signing up for the Macleay Argus newsletter here.