TASMANIA’S own ninja warrior Andrew McDonald has defied the odds with his perseverance and commitment to the unique sport, winning out as he returned from Australia’s two major ninja warrior competitions.
And he says he’s ready to tackle the next step in his journey.
Hailing from Oakdowns, Mr McDonald recently competed against some of Australia’s best ninja warriors at the Australian Ninja Games in South Australia, as well as at the Ninja Challenge League finals in Western Australia.
He finished strongly at the events, coming fourth in the Australian Ninja Games and middle of the pack against a competitive field of 106 ninja warriors at the Ninja Challenge League.
“I qualified for the Ninja Challenge League finals in Melbourne by finishing fifth, coming up against some of the best,” Mr McDonald said.
“I’m also now ranked fourth amateur male at the moment for the Australian Ninja Games league.”
Inspired to start training to become a ninja warrior four years ago after watching the first series of ‘Australian Ninja Warrior’, Mr McDonald said the sport was both physical and mental and involved a number of skills and dedication.
“It’s a mental game because when you come up to an obstacle you have to think about how you’re going to get through that within a split second,” he said.
“You also need good balance, flexibility, endurance and a lot of upper body strength – that’s what most of my workout routines are: dead hangs, pull ups, muscle ups and stuff like that.”
A strong mentality was something Mr McDonald needed following being confined to bed at the start of the year after undergoing a microdiscectomy on two compressed discs in the spinal region.
“All of February I was on the lounge or in bed not being able to do much or even walk too far,” he said.
Intensive rehabilitation followed, with Mr McDonald getting back into training within only a couple of months post-surgery.
“March was where I kicked off training again and I started doing a few laps of the street and built from there,” he said.
“Every time I went to the doctor, he said I should take it easy on the ninja side of things, but I just started doing a tiny bit more and now realise that I’m a lot stronger than I was before.
“I am a ninja warrior – it is not just a physical challenge, but a mental challenge and I love that.”
Mr McDonald, who is a fourth year apprentice carpenter, had spent the year training for the competitions in his home-made ninja warrior obstacle course in his backyard.
“As a builder I got all the pipe work for free,” he said.
“It started with a pull up bar, but now extends all the way down to the fence.”
The self-built course contains a salmon ladder, a pegboard, a floating bridge, gymnastic rings and many more obstacles.
Training also involved a number of other sessions, including cross fit and gymnastics at the Hobart Gymnastics Academy.
“Monday I’ll go rock climbing, Tuesday is cross fit, Wednesday I’m in the backyard, Thursday is cross fit, Friday is gymnastics and then on the weekend I get people to come over and we’ll have a session on the course,” Mr McDonald said.
Mr McDonald said his goal was to compete at a world championship and appear on the television series.
“I’ll keep pushing and try to get better,” he said.
“There’s another Australian Ninja Games in May 2020 and then I want to return to the Ninja Challenge League next year to do better.”
Mr McDonald is currently waiting to hear back about appearing on the next series of the show.
In the meantime, Mr McDonald will continue to train with the local community in Tasmania.
“It’s a small community, but we’re all here together to push each other hard – we all help each other and bring up suggestions on how to do things,” he said.
“It’s a really good sport and you don’t have to be a gymnast or anything like that – there are other ways to start on a beginner scale.”
Caption: Oakdowns resident Andrew McDonald overcame a number of setbacks to perform strongly at Australia’s biggest ninja warrior competitions.