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Strongman Joe dreams of Wales title one day

DRAGGING an eight-tonne truck may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but it’s all in a day’s work for Coventry University graduate Joe Roberts in his quest to one day be named Wales’ Strongest Man. 

Joe, 26, recently competed in the national tournament for the very first time, coming a respectable eighth place out of 12. 

Graduating from Coventry University in 2017 with a degree in Physiotherapy, Joe has gone on to work at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire as an intensive care physiotherapist. Showing that his studies have helped him in the working world, as well as his in his sporting achievements. 

The televised Wales’ Strongest Man competition involves a number of gruelling challenges, including a 200kg duck walk, 80-110kg block press, a 305kg car lift and dragging an eight-tonne truck. 

Joe, who grew up in North Wales, said: “I’d been doing body building for about 12 years and I used to use the uni’s gym and enjoyed playing with Coventry University’s rugby league team. I only got into Strongman less than 18 months ago, I started with a local novice tournament, then an intermediate one in Suffolk and finally Wales’ Strongest Man. I’m well ahead of where I thought I’d be in this time. 

“I’m pretty happy with how I did – all the challenges went quite well apart from the block press. It was a bit strange competing in front of 1,500 people and having the television cameras there though, I’m used to doing it in car parks in front of 30-50 people. It was a lot of fun doing the truck push, but I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to do that uphill! 

“There’s a lot of training involved – three normal gym sessions in Coventry and another specialist strength session in Dudley focussing on Strongman events each week and I’m looking to take it up a step at next year’s tournament, maybe come top five in 2024, top 3 in 2025 and then who knows? Ultimately the aim is to win. There are other tournaments beyond that; UK Strongest Man, World Strongest Man, but I’m not focusing on things like that just now.” 

It’s proving to be a busy summer for Joe, who also married his partner Rita this week. 

“Rita’s as surprised as I am that I’ve got this far in Strongman already, but she’s done so much to support me along the way,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to taking a bit of time off now before competing again next year.” 

To find out more about Physiotherapy at Coventry University visit https://www.coventry.ac.uk/course-structure/ug/hls-nhs/physiotherapy-bsc-hons/ 

About Coventry University   

Coventry University is a global, modern university with a mission of Creating Better Futures. We were founded by entrepreneurs and industrialists in 1843 as the Coventry School of Design and we continue to have strong links with the public and private sector, providing job-ready graduates with the skills and creative thinking to improve their communities.  

With a proud tradition of innovative teaching and learning, Coventry University has world-class campus facilities, the UK’s first standalone 5G network and a digital community of learning. Our students are part of a global network that has 50,000 learners studying Coventry University degrees in more than 40 different countries and partnerships with 140 higher education providers worldwide.   

We have greatly increased our research capacity and capability with a focus on impactful research, delivered for and with partners to address real-world challenges and support business and communities to grow. The depth and breadth of our rapidly growing research portfolio was validated by the latest UK research assessment, which saw us jump 22 places in the research power rankings.  

Over two centuries, we have flourished in Coventry and Coventry University Group now also delivers access to our range of high-quality services and partnerships through bases in London, Scarborough, Belgium, Poland, Egypt, Dubai, Singapore and Africa. We will be teaching students at a new campus in China in a joint institution with the Communication University of China in the near future.  

In April 2022, we were honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of International Trade, the UK’s most prestigious business award. In recent years, we have won many awards and vastly improved our rankings in the league tables that matter to students – but what matters to us is delivering transformational change for our students, partners and communities around the world as we continue to evolve into a global education group.