A BODYBUILDER from Blaenau Ffestiniog has qualified to compete in the Arnold Sports Festival UK next month.

27-year-old Llion Evans is taking part in the prestigious event created by Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger, in front of a sold out National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The event takes place from 1 to 3 October.

Llion told the Cambrian News how he got into the sport and how he has progressed in the four years since he first competed.

He said: “I played rugby when I was younger and played that to quite a high level.

“I ended up playing semi-professionally.

“I got asked about going to the gym and I went along. There I came across a man called Garry Blackstone.

“He asked if I had ever competed as a body builder, I told him that I’d never really trained to be one.

“He believed I was a body builder.

“He said that if I wanted to train to be a bodybuilder he would help me. I wanted to think on it.”

But Llion decided to give it a go, as he explained.

“I prepped for a show in Birmingham in 2017, which was my first show, and I won.

“This is something I didn’t expect at all. I didn’t feel like a body builder, I was a regular Joe who went to the gym and who had responded well to the training.

“Garry had a lot of time with me and took me under his wing, this is something I’ll never forget.

“I took a year out before preparing to compete again.

“I planned to take part in an event in 2018 but I needed to pull out for personal reasons.

“I had plans to compete towards the 2019 but then coronavirus came and events started to get cancelled.

“In preparation of my most recent event, 2bros pro event Graftism at Maidenhead, I worked with my coach Kuba Cielen and he entered me into the novice class and the open heavy weight group.

“I didn’t have the confidence to enter this second one but my coach said I could do it.

“I came first in the novice category and straight after it was the higher group.

“There were 16 of us in this group.

“I was going to get dressed and leave, but I thought to myself ‘I have nothing to lose’, so I went out and competed.

“In the end, I finished fourth which qualified me for the Arnold Sports Festival UK.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger will be there along with Sylvester Stallone and strongman Eddie Hall.

“It is considered the second most prestigious event in bodybuilding and it’s the first time the event has come to the UK.

“I am super excited to have been invited to compete at the event which will be held at the NEC in Birmingham at a sold out arena!”

Llion also works as an online coach to help people pursue their health and safety goals.