A BRACE of top weightlifters from across the North East to Russia and beyond are set to descend on Darlington for a two-day kettlebell competition.

The international event takes place at the Education Village on August 9 and 10 and will see local athletes compete against the best in the sport – including Kettlebell Absolute World Champion and world record holder Ivan Denisov of Russia.

Kettlebelling involves athletes holding weights on handles above and around their bodies and being judged on their strength, endurance and technique.

The Darlington event is supported by the world leading governing body of kettlebell sport, the IUKL, and is being organised by kettlebell champion Steven Gordon, who is from Darlington.

He said: “It is a real honour to host the first ever IUKL competition in England, and to host it in my home town is an ever greater honour.

“I will be putting a lot into the event so I can show this great sport to the people of Darlington and also showcase the athletes we have in this country to the world.”

Mr Gordon will be joined by fellow athletes from the region including Simon Trenholm from Stockton, while Scottish athlete Abigail Johnston will also compete.

She is a world record holder and one of the strongest female athletes in the world at the moment.

The competitions will run from around noon on both days and there will be sponsors’ stands and refreshments available.