Worksop powerlifting pair win medals at famous Arnold Classic Europe competition

Worksop pair Matt Merrick and Dean Horsley proudly represented Great Britain and won medals at the Arnold Classic Europe powerlifting competition at the famous Magic Box arena in Madrid, Spain.
Worksop's Matt Merrick lifts his way onto the podium in Spain.Worksop's Matt Merrick lifts his way onto the podium in Spain.
Worksop's Matt Merrick lifts his way onto the podium in Spain.

The Arnold Classic Europe was founded by world famous bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger and is a sporting exhibition used to showcase the best athletes in several different sports, most notably bodybuilding, strongman and powerlifting.

The competition is one of the most prestigious competitions in the world and hosted hundreds of athletes from all over the globe including the USA, India and Russia.

Dean competed in the Under 125kg body weight category in the Masters division (over 40 years old), and won his class.

He hit an impressive 220kg squat, 160kg bench press and a 220kg deadlift.

Weighing in at 88.4kg, former Mr Universe winner Matt was able to enter the heavily contested Under 90kg category after having dieted to lose over a stone in the month prior.

He finishing fourth in benchpress with an easy 165kg and made the podium in deadlift with a massive 280kg (617lb) personal best, placing him third in the world behind a Lithuanian and an athlete from Hungary.

Matt said: “Dean has been training with me for a number of years and has rocketed into the powerlifting scene and is rapidly becoming one of the strongest elders in the country.

“Dean did attempt a massive 240kg squat and deadlift, however it just wasn’t there on the day.

“I have competed previously in numerous competitions around the world, including the Mr Universe in London, World Championships in Slovakia and European Championships in Hungary; however, the Arnold Classic Europe was on a whole new level.

“The whole competition was smooth and effortless with music and pyrotechnics, not to mention the over 12,000 seater stadium being busy all the way through the event.

“The atmosphere was incredible, being cheered on by spectators from all over the world and being watched online by even more.

“To be able to stand on the podium, wearing the prestigious Arnold Classic medal in front of a crowd of people and some of the best powerlifters in the world felt incredible - an achievement very few ever get to experience.

“This was made even more special to be the only two athletes representing Britain at this event and winning two medals – it felt like our achievements were not just personal but also something positive for our country in this sport.”

He added: “This has been a busy year for both Dean and I, as we both dominated the British Championships earlier this year, both taking the gold medal, with me also getting an invite to compete at the Mr Olympia 2023 competition in Florida later this year.

“It’s very rare that two athletes from one small town dominate the sport in this way, however, it’s nice to see two lifters from Worksop going on to achieve so much in this sport.

“Looking ahead, we are both now in need of a rest as the training and preparation going into a competition of this magnitude is severe, however, we will both be back defending our British championships in 2024 and maybe heading back to Arnold Classic with a view to bringing home more medals.”