AN amateur bodybuilder is one step closer to realising his boyhood dream.
Stephen Bingham is hoping to make it to the Mr Universe contest after securing a place at the qualifying British heat.
The 50-year-old, of Beaconside, South Shields, won the National Amateur Bodybuilders’ Association (NABBA) North Britain Over-50s bobybuilding contest at the weekend.
The victory means he’ll go to the Mr Britain contest in Southport next month in the hope of earning a coveted spot at Mr Universe.
The title is the second Stephen picked up in one week, after winning the Over-40s English Lakes Classic, in Cumbria, on Sunday, April 26.
Stephen, who trains every day at Market Health Spa, in South Shields, said: “I train for about an hour and a half every day, but the hardest part of preparing for a contest is the limited diet.
I’m feeling quietly confident about the contest and hopefully I’ll be able to obtain a place in Mr Universe, it’s my boyhood dream to get there. I would just be ecstatic.Stephen Bingham
“It’s low calorie and high protein, so it doesn’t offer much variety.”
Stephen, a spraypainter on an astute submarine project in Barrow-in-Furness, has won NABBA contests on two previous occasions and is a former Mr England class winner and former runner-up of Mr British Isles, but he says this next contest is the big one.
He said: “I’m feeling quietly confident about the contest and hopefully I’ll be able to obtain a place in Mr Universe.
“It’s my boyhood dream to get there. I would just be ecstatic.”
Stephen has been bodybuilding for 32 years and competed in his first contest in 1984.
He added: “It’s a lifestyle, especially during the competitive season. Mr Universe is the real ultimate for bodybuilding.
“It’s quite hard to fit training around my job, I work seven days a week, so it is tough, but I’ve got a lot of support.
“I have to thank Rob Hills for helping me with my training and dietary needs over the last 30 years, and my wife Dawn for being so supportive.”