Local body-builder takes on universe

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A BUS driver is hoping success at this weekend’s Mr England body-building contest will give him the chance to compete to become Mr Universe.

Stephen Flynn has been training for 18 years, and has won three Mr UK titles since he started competing in 2001.

But now he has his eye on amateur body-building’s top prize. “I’m hoping to do well at the weekend because if I do well in that I get my invite to Mr Universe,” he said.

Even though he has not entered any contests for five years, Stephen is confident that he will make it to the Mr Universe competition in Southport on October 30. “I would have to make a terrible mistake not to get invited,” he said.

Body-builders are judged on their physique rather than their strength, so Stephen will be slapping on fake tan and squeezing into tight trunks for the contest on Sunday.

He will have to adopt a range of poses to show off his shape, and perform routines. “I’ve been enjoying my training in the gym but this year I wanted to get back on stage.”

Body-building wasn’t Stephen’s first choice of sport. “I was football crazy,” he said. “To be honest, it’s still my first love, sport-wise.”

But Stephen, 40, bought a set of weights from Argos and started to work on his physique. “I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time,” he said. “I started on those weights, and over time I noticed little changes happening in my body.”

When he saw a friend compete in a body-building competition in 2000, he decided to give it a go for himself, and won the North British Championships a year later.

Stephen works for Arriva and lives in Earlsheaton. He trains four days a week at Fitness Connection in Ravensthorpe and Roy Ellam’s Premier Health Club in Mirfield.

Both gyms are sponsoring Stephen for his next contests. “They’re absolutely fantastic,” he said. “They’re good friends anyway, but for them to do that, it’s probably costing them a fortune.”

The National Amateur Bodybuilders’ Association Mr England contest will be held at Brierley Hill Civic Hall, near Dudley, on Sunday September 26.