Young thrower sets sights on succeeding fellow athlete Geoff Capes as winner of the prestigious World’s Strongest Man crown
One of Britain’s most talented young throwers, Lewis Byng, is now focusing on strongman competitions instead of athletics with the goal of one day winning the World’s Strongest Man title.
If he succeeds, he will become the first track and field athlete to win the World’s Strongest Man crown since Geoff Capes in the 1980s.
Like Capes, Byng has so far made a name for himself in the shot put. He is No.1 on the UK under-20 all-time rankings with the 6kg shot and won English Schools titles in 2018 and 2019 in addition to finishing seventh and eighth in the European under-18 and under-20 championships in 2018-2019 respectively.
The mighty Capes, meanwhile, was twice Commonwealth champion, twice European indoor champion and competed at three Olympic Games before becoming the first Brit to win the World’s Strongest Man in 1983 and 1985.
“Competing at two sports at a high level is very demanding on the body, especially when one wants you to be super strong and one wants you to be super fast and powerful,” says Byng.
“Obviously there are cross-overs but for me there is no fun in shot put anymore. After 2020-21 I lost the love of it but now I have the love for strongman and I intend on pursuing it fully with all my heart and passion with the aims of being world’s strongest man one day.”
Byng started athletics aged 11 initially as a javelin thrower but found shot put came naturally to him.
He has autism but became one of Britain’s most successful teenage athletes and, outside the shot put, he mastered the Rubik’s Cube too and is able to complete it in a few seconds.
He enjoyed great success during his teens with Stratford-upon-Avon AC but in the 2020-21 period became disillusioned with shot put and more interested in the world of strongman.
Aged 20, he completed a 400kg deadlift last year before improving to 411kg – an under-23 strongman world record.
In recent years Brits such as Eddie Hall and Tom Stoltman have won the World’s Strongest Man title with their exploits traditionally broadcast on television over the Christmas period. Neither Hall nor Stoltman has come from an athletics background, though.
So can Byng one day succeed them and also Capes by taking the crown?
“I’m competing on October 8 to deadlift 453.5kg to break the under-23 world record by 33.5kg and I fully believe I will win the World’s Strongest Man one day,” says Byng, who is now aged 21 and coached by former shot putter Mark Edwards. “It’s just a long journey ahead.”
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