Matthew McCoy places 4th in U23 World Championship 2017

With a tough battle through 8 grueling events over 3 days 3 times Junior Ireland Strongest Man Matthew McCoy of Co. Antirm fought off extreme competition to achieve 4th Place in the U23 World Championship in Gatineau.

Gatineau, Canada – 6,000 fans packed the arena for the first day of the Ultimate Strongman U23 World Championship. It was Zydrunas Savickas trained Martynas Brusokas of Lithuania who laid down his marker early, winning the first event – the Giant Tyre Flip. The Big Z technique was evident as he beat the rest of the field by nearly 20 seconds. His winning time 36.11″. Canadians Wesley Moose and Nick English took 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The second event of the day, the silver dollar deadlift, proved to be the highlight. All 10 competitors cleared the first two rounds, 600Kg and 700kg, before the field started to drop away. It all came down to 3 men – Nick English (Can), Paul Smith (Eng) and Matthew McCoy (Irl). All three pulled clear at 875lbs/397Kg , and then matched each other at 900lbs/408Kg. A new world record weight of 930lbs/421Kg was set, and it was McCoy, at 105Kg the smallest man, who was up first, and to the delight of the fans broke the record – 4 times his own bodyweight. England’s Paul Smith, the previous world record holder, was up next, and matched McCoy’s record as the crowd erupted once more. Canadian Nick English wasn’t going to go out without a fight, with headphones on he stepped up and matched McCoy and Smith to set up a showdown at 950lbs/431Kg.

McCoy said he wouldn’t attempt the weight, but a stern talking to from his older sister saw him step up first as the crowd chanted his name – they love him over here. McCoy set himself with his knees at shoulder width but hands in a narrow position and pulled to set a new world record once more and lay down the gauntlet to Smith and English. It wasn’t to be for them however, and McCoy took his first win of the championship (he won 2 events here last year). In the final event, the 44,000lb arm over arm truck pull, Canada’s Wesley Moose won ahead of Piotr Pasionek and Matthew McCoy.

Day 2 of the U23 World Championship saw the rain come in, keeping many of the previous days 6,000 crowd away, and resulting in the moving of the Stone of Strength to the final Day. The 2 x 150Kg Farmers Deadlift Hold was the first event, and the first due out were Denmark’s Alexander Jorgensen (10th Overall) and the USA’s Nick Davis (8th overall). Davis was the first to drop, at 22.42 seconds, whilst Jorgensen dug deep to record 36.47 seconds – enough for 8th place in the Farmers hold. Icelander Stefan Torfason (9th Overall) was matched next with Canada’s Nick English (5th Overall). English had been leading after the 2nd event on Day 1, but a disappointing arm over arm truck pull had dropped him down to 5th overall. Torfasn was first out – 41.30 seconds his time, but English zoned in and became the first man to record over a minute – 67.01 seconds his time.

Canada’s Isaac Maze (7th Overall) and Martynas Brusokas (5th Overall) followed. Brusokas went out early as his straps went, his time just 24.28 seconds. Maze got in the zone and had the crowd roaring as he put in a competition best performance to notch up a staggering 94.03 seconds. He had set the marker for the rest of the field to beat. Perhaps the most eagerly awaited match up was between Ireland’s. Both men got to work, and the timer passed 2 minutes the crowd were on their feet roaring the duo on. McCoy, who is one of the worlds best at hold events, shouted encouragement to Smith, before the Englishman finally dropped at 129.18 seconds, surpassing the previous junior world record by over 9 seconds. McCoy carried on, his hands and arms now numb, and even had the time to smile at the camera before he finally succumned at 146.60 seconds – a new World Record.

The last pairing was Competition leader Wesley Moose (Canada) and Piotr Pasionek (Poland). Moose held as long as he could, but suffering with a bicep injury he wisely dropped early to save himself for the rest of the Championship. His time, 44.18 seconds, good enough for 6th overall, Pasionek posted 46.59 seconds, which earned him 5th.The final event of the day was the Log for Reps (115Kg). Paul Smith continued his run of form as he smashed out 11 reps for the win, just ahead of Martynas Brusakas with 10.

The final day of the U23 World Championship kicked off with the Gatineau Wheelbarrow. This event always entertains the crowd with the drama the wheelbarrow holds.  The wheelbarrow weighing in at 1850 lbs caused a number of problems for Nick English who was starting to lose the pace with the rest of the leaders.  However, the wheelbarrow was increased to 2000 lbs and this was made to look easy by the 2016 runner up Paul Smith who completed the full 20m.  Martynas fell short at 15.9 metres and Matthew McCoy was 0.1 behind to place third in that event.

The seventh event of the contest was the Stones of Strength.  This event is a crowd favourite and never disappoints.  It was the Canadian who set down the early marker in this event by lifting 3 stones in a time of 20.41.  However, it was the Zydrunas Savickas trained Martynas Brusokas who won the event with 3 stones in 17.78.  Paul Smith was 1 step closer to the title after placing third in the Stones of Strength to open a 9 point gap between him and second.

The final event to decide the title was the Duck Walk and Drag Medley.  This event would test who has the biggest heart and who wants the title of U23 World Champion.  Going into this event there was only 1 point splitting 3 men to the podium.  This made this event more exciting for the neutral. It was Isaac Maze vs Nick English, Canada vs Canada.  However, it was Nick English who his podium place alive by getting a time of 53.73.  Then it came down to Wesley Moose and Matthew McCoy.

To see full results of this competition go to



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Since it's formation in July 2000, the Irish Strength Association have gone from strength to strength, boasting over 140 members, many of whom have competed in the highest levels of Strongest Man,Arm-wrestling and Highland games competitions. Mission: To be the strongest on the planet!

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