Leon le Roux, who finished second overall in the 105kg master’s class, is pictured here with the first- and third-place winners. Left is Paul Mwenza from Zambia, who won the class, while Ntare (Jimmy) Rwamungereka (right) from Kenya was third. Photo supplied.
Date: 10 November 2023 By: Andries van Zyl
Local strongman Leon le Roux from AFB Makhado, outside Louis Trichardt, was at it again, this time flexing his muscles at the Africa Strongman Championships at Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia, on 28 and 29 October. Up against tough competition, he brought home a silver medal.
Le Roux was one of around 70 athletes competing in the championships and one of four strongmen to compete in his age and weight class, the 105kg master class. Day one of the championships started with a 120kg log press, 120kg axle press, and 70kg one-arm dumbbell presses. "It was a medley, but I could not finish as I could not complete the log press. It was just too heavy," said Le Roux. The deadlift was the second item of the day, where Le Roux managed a second place. "It was a personal best for me with a weight of 270kg," said Le Roux. The last event of the first day was a loading medley. Here, athletes had to carry a 90kg, 100kg, and 110kg sandbag over a distance of 15 meters, respectively, after which they had to toss the bag over a 1.5-meter high bar. The fastest time won. Here, Le Roux again came in second place.
Day two of the competition started with the gruelling yoke walk, where competitors had to carry a 300kg weight for 30 meters, run back for 15 meters, and then pull a 200kg sledge backward for another 15 meters. "The quickest time won, and here I again came second," said Le Roux. Feeling the strain of two days of heavy lifting, Le Roux's next event was the sandbag carry. "You have to carry a 120kg sandbag in front of your chest and walk as far as you can in a 90-second period. I managed 70 meters and finished second," said Le Roux. The last event of day two saw Le Roux having to toss a 140kg cement ball over a 1.2-meter high bar as many times as he could in 60 seconds. "Even if I did ten, I would have still finished second, so I only did two as the two other competitors could not get the ball over the bar," said Le Roux.
As mentioned, Le Roux's performance over the two days secured him an overall second place in his age and weight group. He had a tough time as his wife, Marihan, could not accompany him this time. "She did, however, follow it on live streaming. At night she would phone to motivate me. She is my pillar of strength, supports me 100%, and keeps me motivated," said Le Roux. According to Le Roux, a strong possibility exists that he might be able to compete at the 2024 Official Strongman Games in America. "The CEO of the Strongman Games, Lynn Morehouse from America, also attended the Africa Strongman Champs and said that I can get my invite to the games," said Le Roux.
Le Roux again expressed his gratitude towards all his sponsors who enable him to compete at both the national and international level. These sponsors include Paul's Body Shop, the Arrie Nel Pharmacy Group, Rainbow Midas, Action Ford, Kevin Truter, Louis Kruger, Doep du Plessis of Pemico, and Anton. "Thank you also, Gérhard van Staden, Africa Strongman Union president, for your support. A thank you also goes to my children, Dandré and Wihan, my mother Marie, and family Mariska, Marius, and Leonie. Without my wife, children, family, and sponsors, none of this would be possible. It was a great honour to represent South Africa at the championships," said Le Roux.
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.