HAROLD – James Justice, 45, of Harold, competed in a United States Powerlifting Association West Virginia Championship at the Mountain State Force CrossFit Gym on May 7.
Over 70 male and female competitors competed in the USPA. meet. Justice won the Masters Division for ages 45-49 class with a 601-pound squat and a 363-pound bench press, which he had to pause on his chest for two seconds and then lift up to complete the lift. He also achieved a 501-pound deadlift and was the overall winner in the Masters Division with two medals of distinction. Justice also set a new state record in bench press in the Master Division ages 45-49. His state record lift was 363 pounds (165 Kg).
Justice began competing in powerlifting training over 23 years ago and won the 1993 Mr. Louisville Bodybuilding Championship. Justice remains the only eastern Kentucky man to win the Mr. Louisville competition.
Justice began his weightlifting career over 31 years ago and has worked as an independent personal trainer for 26 years. He credits God first, above all, in allowing him to be able to train and compete in the competitions. A severe car accident caused Justice to step away from training and weightlifting several years ago. Traveling on US 23 Justice was hit by a coal truck and almost killed. Months of physical therapy and several surgeries left him weak, but his past training and weightlifting enabled him to eventually begin powerlifting again.
“Anyone can do any sport, including weightlifting (drug-free) and feel better about themselves,” said Justice. “Having the accomplishment of knowing you achieved this on your own is a powerful feeling. Many people associate powerlifters and weightlifting with drugs and steroids, but it can be done drug-free. I am an example of doing it drug-free. Yes, it may take a little longer to get where you want to be in the sport, but it is work not having the unnecessary health problems associated with steroid use.”
Justice is hoping to be squatting over 600-pounds and bench pressing over 400-pounds.
The competition was directed by Johnny Layne and Justice said the event was organized and professional. Justice is sponsored in the competition events by Karen Justice of Tangles Hair Salon located at Coal Run and himself.
“Eventually I would like to start a powerlifting program to mentor young competitors getting started in the sport,” Justice added. “I have sponsored sledge hammer competitions where all proceeds went to deserving children in the community.”
Justice intends to setup a Go Fund account to establish a sponsorship to compete in future competitions as well as provide scholarship money for young competitors. The community is behind James and his desire to promote a healthy athletic lifestyle.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.