POWERLIFTER Lepeka Nanai has a fighting spirit as big as the weights he lifts.
And having recently returned from the World Blind Powerlifting Championships in Florida with two gold medals around his neck and two new world records under his belt, that’s no mean feat.
The muscle-bound Melton man, 32, has turned his life and luck around since two traumatic incidents claimed all but 3 per cent of his vision while still in his early 20s.
It was a very depressing time and to numb the pain I started buying a six pack and before you know it I’d become a bad alcoholic.
In 2003, Nanai lost almost all sight in his left eye when he was splashed with acid from a burst pipe in a workplace accident. Then, just a year later a glass bottle was smashed in his other eye during a brutal attack at a train station….
“It was a very depressing time and to numb the pain I started buying a six pack and before you know it I’d become a bad alcoholic.”
I’m still all hyped up about everything – all the hard work has paid off.
While family and friends helped Nanai to beat his addictions, it was discovering powerlifting that provided a new passion and purpose.
His new world records – a 251kg bench press and 293kg dead lift – come just three years after taking up the sport.
“I really kept everyone guessing but I knew I’d been training hard and somehow I knew I could do it. I actually wanted to go heavier but my coach knows best and he told me not to go crazy and just take it a bit at a time.”
“I’m still all hyped up about everything – all the hard work has paid off. – Courtney Crane