A SWIMMING teacher has encouraged youngsters to try out sports after her son was crowned Wales’ Strongest Man for the third time in a row.

Ben Brunning, a former Dovercourt swimmer and rugby player, has tried and enjoyed numerous sports over the years, including kayaking in South Africa and white water rafting in India.

He has used his love of sport for his working life too and isn’t afraid to take on a new challenge and was last year crowned British Sumo Wrestling champion, while taking part in a BBC Wales TV show.

Ben tried the sport alongside Go Compare advert funnyman and tenor Wynne Evans for the show Wynne at the Deep End.

But his crowning glory is his third consecutive victory in the competition to find Wales’ Strongest Man.

To win the title, Ben had to compete in five different gruelling events and won four of the challenges, meaning he took the overall title for the third year running.

Competitors had to carry a 185kg concrete stone as far as possible, complete a giant log press and complete a timed event carrying giant logs ranging from 131kg to 242kg across a course.

They also had to squat sacks in a cage increasing in weight each time and reaching a maximum of 520kg as well as lift stones weighing 150kg over a giant log 52 inches off the floor.

Ben, who is 30, has now qualified to compete in the Britain’s Strongest Man competition next year.

His mum Tina, who also coaches at Harwich Swimming Club, said: “He lives in Wales now, he moved there for the white water rafting, but he used to swim for the Harwich Swimming Club and played rugby too.

“He did kickboxing and was invited to the world championships to compete, but didn’t take it up.

“I would encourage people to try out sports and see what they like.

“I’m a foster carer and you get kids focused on things and it does a world of good.

“It keeps them active, is good for friendships and it is a bit of discipline, self-discipline too as you have to work for it.”

Ben said his love of sports started as a child when he lived in Harwich.

He said: “I joined the rugby team and never looked back, Harwich Rugby Club was my childhood and my teenage years.

“It was my choice to try kickboxing in Harwich and I loved it.

“You need to try out many sports and then exercise isn’t a chore.

“I’ve done everything, I joined after-school clubs and even athletics.

“My mum was pushy when it came to sports and I thank her for it now. I always want to win.”

Ben started taking part in strong man competitions after joining a gym with a friend who began competing.

He added: “I liked the look of it and started training with him and it went on from there.

“Now I train five days a week , two of those days are conditioning and cardio and some of my cardio is still kickboxing.

“You want to try many sports and you will stick at one.

“If I don’t go to the gym now I feel odd.”