Burkina's Iron Biby powerlifts into record books -- and nation's heart

BodyBuilding Iron Biby notched up two world powerlifting records in less than a month.  By OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT AFPFile
SEP 21, 2021 LISTEN
Iron Biby notched up two world powerlifting records in less than a month. By OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT (AFP/File)

Iron Biby, fresh from setting a new log lift record in Scotland -- 229 kilos (504 pounds) -- received a hero's welcome as he returned home to the West African state of Burkina Faso.

Fans crowded at the airport late on Monday waving banners reading "You are the pride of the entire nation" and "Bravo champion", to greet the 29-year-old, 180-kilo powerlifter.

In Saturday's Giants Live World Tour Finals competition in Glasgow, Iron Biby's 229 kilo exploit was just one kilo over the previous record -- but that was one set by Zydrunas Savickas of Lithuania 16 years ago.

Iron Biby launched into a trademark cartwheel after lifting the massive log clear of his head to add another record to his world strongman tally. A video of the feat on Instagram clocked up more than 116,000 likes.

"It's a big deal for me, because I have been trying to beat this world record since 2018," Iron Bibi said with a broad smile, standing next to Burkina's Sport Minister Dominique Nana.

Fan Taleb Kangamba told AFP: "Thanks to him, people know of Burkina Faso and our flag is flying even in parts where you would never expect it. And also thanks to him, the name of Burkina Faso and his name are in the Guinness Book of Records."

Iron Bibi, whose real name is Cheick Ahmed Al-Hassan Sanou, started weightlifing in 2009 at age 17 in Canada, where he and his older brother went to high school.

He became the world log lift champion in 2018, a title he retained the following year.

In addition to the log lift record, he holds the Guinness World Record for most overhead presses in one minute -- of a person. And in July, he broke the world "axle press" record at the 2021 Strongman Classic in London's Royal Albert Hall.

And not content with breaking the long-held log lift record, Biby said he plans to do better still.

"I'm going to take this record to another level so that it's very hard to break it," he said.