Warwick aged care warrior wins gold at the Highland Games
A LIFETIME lifting elderly Akooramak residents out of bed gave Paul Driscoll the muscle required to win gold at the Highland Games during Australian Celtic Festival on Saturday.
It was the second time Driscoll entered the competition, winning the caber toss and the putting of the stone events.
The putting of the stone is a medieval precursor to shot put and requires entrants to hurl an 8kg river stone as far as they can, while the caber toss involves lifting, throwing and flipping a 45kg wooden poll on its end.
"I threw the stone a good 10m,” Driscoll said.
The caber toss is a feat of finesse with points awarded for the angle the poll lands on.
Competitors get top marks if it travels forward to land in a straight line.
"It is more about skill than strength but you have to be strong enough and know when to flick it upwards,” Driscoll said.
His technique is to angle the caber forward slightly, using its weight to build momentum ahead of the toss.
Driscoll was always a strong bloke but only started serious training for the Highland Games about four months ago.
"You pick up extremely large weights,” he said
"I like to pick up two 50kg dumbbells and walk around with them.
"With your arms, you might do a curl bringing up the most weight you can.”
Driscoll dabbled in powerlifting in his early 20s and kept his fitness while working.
"As an aged care worker, and also being a massage therapist, I have to keep that back strength, particularly for bending over beds in the nursing home,” Driscoll said.
He trained at WIRAC and picked up few tips from local strongman Tom Hardy.
Driscoll placed fourth in his first attempt at the caber toss last year while this year's attempt came down to a sudden death shoot-out.
"I went against a young fella from Armidale and we had to do toss off, if you can pardon the pun.”
"I tossed mine perfectly and I walked away with the gold.”
Highland games date back to the 12th century when Celt's English overlords outlawed competitions using traditional arms such as duelling, jousting and melee combat, so the Scots and Irish invented new games using sticks and stones.
"The English did not want the Celts getting too battle hardy and from there it developed into a tradition,” Driscoll said.
"I have my very proud Irish descendancy.
"It took me a while but I found the tartan from the O'Driscoll Clan.”
Driscoll is keen to re-enter competitve power-lifting following his success at Glen Innes
"I know I'm in my 40s but I feel like I've still got it,” he said.