A CROSS Hands powerlifter going for gold at the World Championships thanks to support from the local community has thanked everyone who has helped for getting him to Florida.

Owain Tobias, 23, is representing Great Britain in the WPC World Championships, where he hopes to win gold this week.

Owain was invited to compete after winning the British Powerlifiting Championships, at the Bodypower Expo.

However, despite being a dream for Owain, he came close to tearing up the invite until a number of local businesses and residents stepped in to help.

Owain explained: “There was no way I could afford it. The flights, the accommodation, the equipment, everything would have been too much.”

Support for Owain, who trains at Evolution Health and Fitness Centre, came flooding in to help him live his dream.

“The owner of Rugby Warfare clothing, Scott Flear, kindly sponsored me and set me up with all the necessary equipment.

“There are so many people to thank. I can’t express how grateful I am.”

Rugby Warfare, Penygroes Service Centre, Black Mountain Signs and CEMB Prints were all involved in sponsoring Owain among others.

A number of personal donations were also received, and to say thank you for them, Owain has been fundraising for eight charities as he prepares to compete, including Autism Speaks, MIND and Children With Cancer.

Owain works at Go Life Protet Ltd in Carmarthen, and it was his boss, Andrew Clark, who came up with the idea of getting sponsorship.

Owain added: “He has made my dream become a reality in entering the World Championships and represent my country in the USA.

“As well as Andrew, I certainly wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for family and friends showing their support. My grandfather has been behind me since day one of my powerlifting journey in 2015.

“He, along with my mother, grandmother and brother, as well as my girlfriend, Gwennan, who has recently become British and World Champion in her own category, have travelled across the country just to show their support and encouragement and I am so grateful for everything they’ve done.”

Owain has also received the backing of Welsh rugby international and former Ysgol Dyffryn Aman pupil, Rhodri Williams.

Williams, who now plays for the Dragons, said: “It would be amazing if Owain could win, but I think it would be the icing on the cake. It is the work he has done beforehand that people do not see that I think is the really impressive thing. It is similar to rugby in that sense.

“You can have nothing but respect for someone who is competing at the highest level, and the charity side of it all on top of that is brilliant.”

Owain begins his competition on Thursday.