World-record attempt at STV this week as S&C coach takes on charity weightlifting challenge

25 April 2016

A strength & conditioning coach at the University of Bath will attempt to break a world record at the Sports Training Village this week to raise money for Bristol Children’s Hospital, after it helped save the life of his friend’s baby daughter.

Luke Vella is hoping to break the world record for the heaviest weight deadlifted in 60 seconds. The current record stands at 5,520kg, which Luke hopes to beat with a lift of 5,600kg. To achieve this, he will attempt to lift 126kg for 44 repetitions in 60 seconds.

A deadlift is a lift from a standing position, without using a bench or any other equipment for support.

Luke has been training up to ten times a week for his record attempt, which will take place at the STV gym at 5pm on Wednesday. He hopes to raise £5,000 for The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity.

Luke was inspired to support The Grand Appeal after Bristol Children’s Hospital saved the life of fellow University of Bath strength & conditioning coach Bob Smith’s baby daughter, Autumn. She underwent emergency treatment at the hospital for a life-threatening heart condition last year, aged just four weeks old.

Luke said: “I am originally from Melbourne in Australia and Bob and his wife Katie were a terrific support to me when I first moved to the UK in 2014, and have since become very good friends.

“After hearing what they went through when Autumn was ill, I knew I had to do something to thank the doctors and nurses that looked after their whole family with such amazing care and compassion.

“While I have competed in national and world championship powerlifting events, I have never attempted a record like this before. The most I have lifted previously is 250kg so it will be a real challenge. The training has been incredibly hard, with many 5am starts in the gym!

“However, in my time, I have not met a more caring couple or more loving parents than Bob and Katie. I hope people get behind this challenge to show their support for them and all the other families whose lives have been touched by Bristol Children’s Hospital.”

Amber Janney, events fundraiser at The Grand Appeal, said: “Bristol Children’s Hospital provides lifesaving care to more than 100,000 sick children and babies each year from across the whole South West region, including Bath. However, this statistic becomes even more meaningful when one of those families is someone you hold dear.

“It’s fantastic that Luke was inspired to support us by his friend Bob’s experience, as a thank you for the care Autumn received. While he is an experienced weightlifter, breaking a world record is no mean feat and we wish him all the very best with his challenge.”

To support Luke’s world record attempt, visit

Bob Smith is also fundraising for The Grand Appeal, running a half marathon every single week during 2016. He has so far raised more than £3,000 of his £8,000 target. To support him, visit

Pictured top are Bob (left) and Luke – good luck to both of them in their inspirational fundraising efforts from all of us at Team Bath

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