A KETTLEBELL athlete from the North-East is preparing to travel to Russia to compete.

The European kettlebell championships is on May 12 in St Petersburg, where athletes from across the world will compete.

Steve Gordon, 26, from Darlington, who owns a kettlebell training centre, has been competing for just under two years, quickly progressing to professional status.

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In that short time Mr Gordon has already achieved success - gaining bronze in his first competition in Glasgow.

Some of his specialist training has been carried out with coaches in Russia over the internet.

The sport consists of using varying methods to lift two kettlebell weights and holding them over the head for ten minutes, a test of physical and mental strength.

He will be using the professional two 32kg weights as opposed to the normal 24kg weights.

“Training with my Russian coaches has been an honour, as they only take the time to train with the best," he said.

“The European championships will be my biggest challenge yet, as I’m using kettlebells that make the majority of my weight!

“But I’m extremely proud to represent the kettlebell sport for England.”