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Strongest man wants to throw for Scotland

GREGOR EDMUNDS ended a US monopoly to reclaim the World Highland Games crown for Scotland, won the Highlander Challenge and Scotland's Strongest Man titles.

Now, he hopes to become part of Glasgow 2014.

Highland games and strength events have taken a toll on his back (he also has competed in the World's Strongest Man) but he hopes to stage a career valedictory at the Commonwealth Games, when he will be 37.

"Throwing the discus is a lot kinder to my back," he said yesterday. "I've a disc that moves around, so I'm doing lots of exercises to strengthen it, and keep training. I'm waiting to see a specialist. I'm still cleaning and jerking 150 kilos. On a good day I am strong, but some days I literally have to crawl from my bed to the couch.

"I'd love to qualify for 2014 if my body can hold out. I don't want to be doing highland games, throwing lots of awkward implements umpteen times a year. Throwing a discus is quite a pleasurable experience, because it doesn't weigh anything.

"I have been training with Angus McInroy (who holds the Scottish record at 58.77m), and that's been going well. I have lost seven kilos (he weighs 140kg) to get a bit quicker. When I flight it properly, it goes a hell of a long way.

"Highland games will be very limited next year. I'll be getting my toe in the water with the discus. I enjoy weightlifting, so there's a possible qualifying total in that. I can almost do the snatch now. I can already power clean close to the clean and jerk total. I like lifting, you don't twist on any of the planes you are in, so it's not bad for my back – but the discus is what really appeals to me."

He and McInroy have joined the Glasgow Barbell Club at Scotstoun. "There's a lot of us from different sports. But we have to throw the discus at Crownpoint. Scotstoun is effectively closed to throwers because of the Warriors. It's not always easy to find somewhere to throw."

Edmunds' discus potential is exemplified by his facility with rotational style throwing. He set a world record for the 28lb weight (95ft 10in) at Markinch in 2011, surpassing the US record and adding more than three feet to the previous world mark.

This discipline was once dominated by Brian Oldfield, the former world shot record-holder. When he set the world best aged 38 in 1984, the American told commentators he had enjoyed a "throw-gasm".

Oldfield appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, won AAA shot and discus titles, and transformed throwing with the rotational style he developed. A blond-haired Adonis, he was never short on self-esteem: "When God created man, he wanted him to look like me," he once said.

He is still ranked fourth all-time in the shot, but is now on crutches when not in a wheelchair. Oldfield and Edmunds are friends on Facebook. "He has said he will watch any videos I send him, and give me advice," says Edmunds. "He is also friends with John Powell [triple US Olympian and bronze medallist] so I can access good advice.

"I have a bit of banter with Brian, and he insists when I can throw the 28lb weight that far, all I have to do is get the discus in hand, and keep flighting it over and over.

"I tried it for three weeks in the US, longest I've ever concentrated on discus, and threw 55 metres several times, quite easily. The Commonwealth qualifying is 56 metres, so it's very possible."

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