Macarthur Strong Woman featured in new ABC documentary series

Leigh Holland-Keen. Picture: Supplied

Leigh Holland-Keen. Picture: Supplied

You may not know Leigh Holland-Keen by name, but you may be among the hundreds of thousands of people who have watched her lift the dinnie stones.

The Macarthur strong woman went viral last year after becoming the second woman in history to lift the 332-kilogram stones.

Now locals can learn more about Ms Holland-Keen's story in an upcoming ABC iView documentary called, Strong Women.

"The Strong Women series approached me to share my journey as an elite athlete," the Eagle Vale resident said.

"The followed me around for about two-and-a-half years - it was a long process because we had the bushfires and the pandemic to deal with as well."

The former Wilton local said choosing to become a Strong Woman had been a family affair.

"When we moved over here from Scotland my stepdad started competing in Australia's Strongest Man and then my mum followed him into the sport," Ms Holland-Keen said.

"I used to go along to the competitions to cheer them on and when I was about 17 I decided to give it a go myself.

"It was like it lit a fire in me - I just loved the challenge because everything about being a Strong Woman is a challenge."

The new documentary series follows some of Australia's top women vying to be crowned Australia's Strongest Woman.

These daughters, mothers and wives share their thoughts, inspirations and motivations on the sport and how it is helping them rebuild themselves inside and out, after challenging experiences with domestic violence, bullying, addictions and eating disorders

Ms Holland-Keen said the sport had gone from strength to strength in recent years.

"When I first started out there was a lot of negative comments and jokes about how women shouldn't be doing this and people saying things like 'women could never do this without performance enhancing drugs'," she said.

"And in the nature of today's society people still make comments over social media.

"But now the sport has become so big, there are more females than males at some of the competitions."

The registered nurse said the pinnacle of her career in the sport was when she returned to her homeland last year to attempt lifting the dinnie stones.

"It went viral - it got worldwide attention," Ms Holland-Keen said.

"I just tried to focus on the positives because I did for me and I did it to empower other females.

"I was a mental health nurse so I understand some of the mental health side of things when people criticise others online.

"You don't need to make fun of other people when you are happy in your own life."

Ms Holland-Keen encouraged everyone to give the Strong Women documentary a watch.

"It's amazing - it goes through the scientific benefits of how physical activity affects the mind," she said.

"And we have been as real and as raw as possible.

"Women with low self-esteem or who have a fear of getting into the gym should definitely watch this because we have all been through that as well."

The Strong Women series, funded by Screen Australia, the ABC and Film Victoria, will be available for streaming on ABC iview on August 1, 2021.

This story Macarthur Strong Woman featured in new ABC documentary series first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.