(Video Above: Alabama native Ray Williams competes in the International Powerlifting Federation world championship)
Demopolis native Ray Williams is making a name for himself across the globe. He recently set the world raw squat record of 938 pounds at The International Powerlifting Classic World Championships in June in Salo, Finland.
He also took home the overall title in the 264-plus pounds division, with the highest weight total in squat, bench press and deadlift.
Williams has been lifting competitively for just over two years, but has been shattering records since he jumped onto the powerlifting circuit in 2013. In only his second meet, he set a new United States raw squat record of 860 pounds, and has been climbing higher ever since. His gift has taken him all over the world, from events in Melbourne, Australia, to Johannesburg, South Africa.
“It feels great to have been able to see different parts of the world and meet people who tell you stories that give you an idea of how it is to live in their country,” Williams said. “As Americans, we are truly blessed and very fortunate that we have the luxuries that we do because it is definitely not the same in other places.”
Growing up in Demopolis, Williams was a standout for Demopolis High School on the football team and fell in love with the preparation it took to be the best on the field. He and his best friend, William Burrell, who works for Alabama Power in substation construction in Birmingham, competed against each other constantly. They set numerous records in the DHS weight room that still stand today.
“The way I grew up taught me lessons that I thank God for every single day. Football has been such a blessing. It gave me a chance to meet people like William and others guys that I still consider family,” added Williams.
He went on to play football at the University of Tennessee-Martin where he was a two-year All- Conference selection and was named an All-American by The Sporting News his senior year. Following his playing career, Burrell introduced Williams to the competitive weight-lifting circuit.
“As a competitor you can never be satisfied and you are only good as your next attempt. I will be competing in Raw Nationals in Scranton, Penn., next for a spot at the 2016 Worlds in Killeen, Texas. This will give me the chance to represent the U.S. on our home soil. My goals are to squat 953 pounds and deadlift 800 pounds in Scranton and to squat 1003 pounds in Killeen,” said Williams.
Williams lives in Fulton, Miss., where he is the defensive line coach at Itawamba Community College.
“I have been blessed to accomplish what I have been able to so far and through the grace of God I will be representing Demopolis, Alabama, on U.S. and International platforms for a long time,” said Williams.
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