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A powerful role-model

A primary teacher has inspired pupils and colleagues by winning the world power-lifting title. Jon Slater reports.

Anyone tempted to believe the stereotype that male primary teachers are wimps has probably not met Ed Nonis.

The 40-year-old class teacher of Years 5 and 6 pupils at Ivydale primary in south London has just become the world power-lifting champion.

Mr Nonis, a former tight-head prop with Blackheath rugby union club, won the masters title for his weight category in Germany last month, following three UK titles - and all of them won within just five years of taking up the sport.

Power-lifting is similar to weightlifting but relies more on brute strength and is less technical.

But Mr Nonis, who trains three times a week, and five times in the lead-up to competitions, believes his career may force him to give up the sport he loves.

He is studying for his National Professional Qualification for Headship, which he hopes to complete next September.

He said: "This could be my last year competing. The pressure of teaching is beginning to take its toll on the time for training. I have won the world title, which is what I set out to do. The biggest thing was standing on the podium listening to the national anthem. But it still hasn't sunk in."

Mr Nonis has shown pupils videos of his world title victory to help inspire them to succeed in their own lives.

Ray O'Neill, head of the school, said: "It is fantastic, really. He is a fantastic role-model for the children, an example of what can happen. If you aim high and work really hard, you can end up on top of the world. That is what we have been telling the children."

Mr Nonis scored the third highest total of 17 competitors in the 90kg category after the three lifts - the squat, the bench and the deadlift - at the Global Powerlifting Committee championships in Dessau, Germany.

He was the clear winner in the masters event for those over 40, scoring 792.5 - more than 70 points ahead of his nearest rival.


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