NEWCOMER Gemma Taylor has snatched the UK's Strongest Woman title – just six months after she took up weight training.
The 20-year-old from Bagby, near Thirsk, only found out earlier this year that she was a natural at lifting heavy weights after being challenged by her boyfriend Tim White – a strong man competitor – to flip a tyre.
After just a few months of training, she took part in her first competition – Britain's Strongest Woman – just last month and came an impressive fourth out of eight.
And on Saturday, Gemma took her first title after beating off six more experienced women at the UK's Strongest Woman competition in Northern Ireland.
She won 500 and a bronze trophy, and said this week she was delighted to have won the event, which tests brute strength rather than fitness.
"I'm amazed and elated. I put in a lot of work, I've got the best trainers possible and all my training has paid off," said Gemma, who trains six days a week and follow a high-protein diet.
She added: "It's a massive achievement and it hasn't really sunk in. It's brilliant. I've amazed myself and my family, and I've enjoyed it so much. It's the best feeling in the world."
A group of Gemma's family and friends watched her take part in the competition. Among the six tasks were carrying 75kg (13 stone) in each hand for the 'farmer's walk', carrying an 82kg, 4ft cross over 100 metres for the 'Celtic Cross' event, and a log lift.
And by the time she entered her final event, the pressure was off because Gemma knew she had already won the competition.
Her sister, Joanne, is now organising a competition featuring Gemma to be held in the Thirsk area later this year.