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Journey to Hells Gate

By Anderson Janes

“Do not be afraid; our fate

Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”

― Dante Alighieri, Inferno

Hell is apparently an interesting place. Fire, brimstone and all that kind of infernal shique. It was chronicled actually, quite imaginatively, by Dante Aligheri and the symbols of struggle and redemption are strong throughout his tale.

As powerlifters we make it our business to struggle. Struggle against weight, against injury, against time and against each other. So I think it apt that the officers of MM Australia named this meet, ‘Hells Gate’. On October 3rd, 2021 Metal Militia Australia is running their first full power meet. It will be a meeting place of some of Australia's strongest equipped and raw lifters, where the very best of MM Queensland and North Queensland will come together to lift iron.

Currently, and I'm writing this on the 17/09/2021, there are just over two weeks until the meet and by god we are losing men and women, left right and centre. It's a bloody massacre here. Right now Metal Militia Australia reminds me of the noble six hundred.

“Canon to the right of them, cannon to the left, cannon behind them volleyed and thundered. Then they rode back, but not. Not the six hundred.” (Lord Tennyson, Charge of the Light Brigade).

We have lost several lifters to border restrictions imposed by the government due to the

COVID-19 pandemic. A handful of other lifters, myself included, have had to alter the category we are competing in due to injury. Still, we have a lineup of some of the greatest bench pressers Australia has seen, continuing the proud tradition of our American brothers and sisters..Me, well I blew out my knee squatting in my OG Leviathan and it has rendered me a partial cripple for the while. The video is up on social media, somewhere.

I have to hand it to the powerlifting community in Australia. They have persevered through

lockdown restrictions with admirable mettle. I have witnessed competitions in bodybuilding and other strength sports be cancelled with impunity. Metal Militia Australia and ‘Hells Gate’ is lucky enough to be hosted by Vance and Ouida Ratapu at their massive strength facility in Gatton, Queensland. I have been to this secret location once and it took a while to realise it was not a small aircraft hangar. I was assured by President Chris Skaroupka that it was indeed a gym. A gym I had been waiting my whole life to be in. Three monolifts.


Because fuck it thats why.

This gym also hosts a legendary sabretooth bench bar, competition grade squat and deadlift

bars, and some small grey birds that come in and shit on the expensive equipment. Truly a

superb gym and a fantastic facility for the competition.

Despite all of the lockdowns, regulations and setbacks, Metal Militia Australia, has cemented its position as a competitive federation. I would like to highlight some lifters, who have been

working tirelessly to make this a world class meet. Our Northern Queensland representative,

LeRoy Vorster has been posting impressive bench press numbers for years and he has taken

his training to new personal records in the past few months. Beside him is Logan City resident Les Wroe who is in contention for Shaun Bostock’s All Time Australian Bench Record. In the deadlift we have Ben Knight who has been a dominant force in the GPC under 100kg class for a number of years. I would also like to highlight the tireless work of our Women's Auxiliary Chapter, especially Anna Bailey.

Finally, I have to of course highlight the exceptional work of Chapter President, Chris Skaroupka, and VP David ‘Mad Dog’ Maddox who have secured sponsors and amazing prizes for the event.

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