Former Marine has sights set on world title after becoming British bench press champion

Ram Patten successfully lifts 200Kg Credit: Ram Patten

A former Royal Marine, who suffered from PTSD after serving in Afghanistan, has turned to powerlifting to help manage his symptoms.

Ram Patten, from Frome, is now the British Classic Bench Press 2024 Champion.

The 44-year-old lifted 200Kg on 2 March. He has now been selected for Team GB and is setting a world title as his next goal later this year.

He said: “I’m tremendously excited about going to the World Championships, but also simultaneously overwhelmed with regards to the amount of emotion and effort that it took to get there.

“I actually didn't remember, and I still don't really remember, any of the lifts that I did. I had to watch them on video to recall what had happened."

Mr Patten took up the sport a year ago to help his mental health after returning from service in Afghanistan. He was diagnosed with complex combat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Patten said: “A friend of mine who's a coach and a Welsh champion, Luke Fadipe, said that I had the frame and build to do well and would I be interested in doing it?

“I just thought, well, 43, I'm not really sure I can do much. And, you know, I am more than likely going to embarrass myself, if anything, with all the young youngsters around me, but he was adamant that that wouldn't be the case."

Mr Patten, who is autistic and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also hopes to support others in a similar position and raise awareness.

He said: “I like to call myself the triple threat. I have the complex combat PTSD. I have ADHD, and I'm also on the autism spectrum.

“So for me, the challenge was more about picking a goal and fulfilling it all the way through to the end, whilst also juggling and navigating through the different impacts of all three of those disabilities affecting me throughout my day."

Ram Patten celebrates with his coach Luke Fadipe Credit: Ram Patten

Alongside his powerlifting Mr Patten is also a family court magistrate. He said: “The beauty about being a family court magistrate is that unlike adult criminal court, where you don't really have any background information and you pass judgement on the basis of criminality or not. Family courts are first and foremost about looking after the best interests of children.

"In order to do that, you get anywhere from 300 to 700 pages of backstory and a lot of it is quite tragic and, and sad.

"It really requires a kind of a heightened level of emotional intelligence and social intelligence, but then also being able to balance that, so that your views and opinions aren't led by your heart, but actually by your head.

"It again takes immense focus, immense diligence and a kind of a very detail oriented mind being able to to discern and analyse information as it's presented to you so that you can make the best judgement on behalf of the child.”

Mr Patten is now concentrating on preparations for the World Championships in Austin, Texas.

He said: “So I have to get my head measured. I think I'm a nine and a half or ten inch. So I need to make sure for my stetson so that it fits right.

"And then the Europeans in August in Istanbul, Turkey. And so those are the next milestones that I'm heading for."

He has also been sharing his story to help others on his social media.

He said: I've actually had a lot of messages and a lot of people reaching out with shared experiences, whether through PTSD, through ADHD or through being on the autism spectrum, and even parents with children who have any one of those three or all three.

"They're just really appreciative of someone being able to demonstrate that actually you can live with these and survive these and navigate the world and and turn them into superpowers as opposed to disabilities."