Ausnew Home Care | Powerlifter with Down syndrome set sights on Commonwealth Games, aiming to inspire

Powerlifter with Down syndrome set sights on Commonwealth Games, aiming to inspire

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As Jack Carroll establishes himself on the powerlifting circuit, he would like his achievements in the sport to inspire other athletes to go after their career dreams.

The 31-year-old abattoir worker trains twice a week with Shannon Pigdon at his local gym in Albury, on the NSW and Victorian border after becoming involved with powerlifting three years ago.

In recent months, Mr Carroll's talent in powerlifting has been recognised nationally and internationally.

He won the under 74-kilogram weight category events at the Australian Powerlifting Union 2022 National Championships, Special Olympics category on the Gold Coast and at the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships, Special Olympics category in Auckland.

A career goal for Mr Carroll is to represent Australia at a Commonwealth Games.

Jack Carroll adjust a weight on a barbell in a gym with trainer Shannon Pigdon looking on.
Jack Carroll has trained with Shannon Pigdon for over a decade, getting into powerlifting three years ago.(ABC Goulburn Murray: Allison Jess)

Mr Pigdon said Mr Carroll's progression in powerlifting in a short time was impressive.

Powerlifting involves an individual lifting as much weight as they can in the squat, bench press, and deadlift categories.

Mr Pigdon said Mr Carroll was one of just a few powerlifters with Down syndrome in Australia who performed all three lifts.

"For Jack to be such a solid all-rounder is pretty rare — he excels quite well," he said.

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At the gym with Jack Carroll

Mr Carroll hoped his powerlifting would inspire other athletes to achieve their sporting goals.

"[And] help them build self-esteem and fitness," he said.

Down Syndrome Australia chief executive Darryl Steff said Mr Carroll was a role model.

"There aren't a lot of people with Down syndrome in the sport of powerlifting, but it's great to see the number rising as the number of qualified trainers and instructors rise," he said.

"Jack is a fantastic role model for others who might be unsure whether they can get into a sport like powerlifting, by showing that people with Down syndrome are able to get involved in a range of different activities if they want to."

Down Syndrome Australia CEO Darryl Steff smiles at the camera with trees in background.
Darryl Steff says Jack and many other Australians with Down syndrome are achieving great things in the sporting world.(Supplied: Down Syndrome Australia)

A family affair

Mr Carroll said powerlifting had improved his core strength and confidence.

His parents were inspired by his powerlifting accomplishments.

Dad Phillip Carroll said family members now trained together with Mr Pigdon.

"It has helped me with everyday activities, I have just had a hip replacement and it helped me prepare and [is] helping me recover so I'm ready to go training in the new year," he said. 

Phillip, Jack and Merril  Carroll smile and stand together in a gym.
Phillip, Jack and Merrill Carroll have all benefited from powerlifting.(ABC Goulburn Murray: Allison Jess)

Mum Merrill Carroll said powerlifting had helped her increase her bone density after a diagnosis of osteopenia.

"It wasn't quite osteoporosis, but I was on my way," she said.

"Research showed that powerlifting and heavy strength training is one thing that increases your bone density and Shannon has guided me the point that my bone density is now a normal range.

"We are totally proud of our boy ... he keeps our family healthy."


Source: ABC

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