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Uplifting experience for blind grandfather.

A blind powerlifter has hit gold, won bronze and smashed a world record.

Gateshead grandfather-of-three Ralph Sample scooped the over-50s gold medal at the International Blind Sports Association Championships in Prague.

The sports masseur, who works at Gateshead International Stadium, also won the bronze medal in the all-ages category ( and broke his own world record ( for bench presses with 110 kilos.

The father of two, of Ettrick Gardens, Deckham, Gateshead, who has been registered blind for 27 years, said: "All of the family are really, really pleased and so am I.

"It's good to prove that disabilities don't need to stop you achieving your ambitions.

"I'll be 60 by the time of the next games so I'm looking forward to winning a few over-60s medals then.

"Sponsorship willing, I'll compete at as many games as possible."

Ralph, 58, who is married to Doreen, is a veteran of competing in the International Blind Sports Association Championships.

He has previously won three gold medals and one silver.

He competed in the 2003 games in Quebec, Canada, in the 1990 US championship, the 1993 competition in Canada and the 1994 games at Spain.

Ralph would like to thank Northumbria Police and VA Tech Reyrolle for helping him with sponsorship and staff at Newcastle Airport for helping him to travel on his own to Prague.

If you are blind or visually impaired and would like to get involved in disabled fitness, please call Ralph on: (07870) 330772.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 31, 2005
Words:243
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