Thanks to social media - more than 20 years after Pa Ubong Hanson aka Super Dragon retired from active strength performance, he went viral during the week after pictures showing him in a tug of war with 10 grown men, who strained unsuccessfully to pull him by his arm, surfaced.
The most shocking of the pictures, was the one showing him pulling a car with a rope tied around his neck. Pa Ubong Hanson aka Super Dragon has now in a tell all interview revealed how he discovered his strenght, how it brought him international fame and how he felt he was possessed whenever he got out to perform after he was tracked down following his pictures going viral.
He told Saturday Punch:
At the age of 17, with a body mass that was fast resembling that of a wrestler, Pa Ubong Hanson discovered he had strength that was unrivalled by his peers in Ikot Eyo in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Lifting objects that made his friends’ jaws drop, quickly earned him the monikers“World Sampson” and “Super Dragon”.
Then at the age of 20, he did the expected.
asked the driver inside it to engage the gears.
“I told the driver to hit the accelerator and drive the car forward while I pushed it backwards. My strength won against the car. It could not move forward at all,” he said.
That was the beginning of exploits that took Pa Hanson, now 77, across different countries in Africa, where he pulled cars with his dreadlocks and tested his strength against multiple men in unmatched tugs of war.
Today, with a head of grey dreadlocks and a face encircled by a tuft of equally grey beard neatly bound together at the chin, he is like an old soldier that never dies.
“In those days, I used to pull cars with my dreadlocks. My hair was the source of my strength.”
According to Super Dragon, when he discovered his strength, he was in an auto mechanic school, with the hope that he would make his living repairing vehicles.
But fate pushed him in a different direction. He said he quit being a mechanic in 1964 and went fully into body building.
“I started to stop moving cars and life weights in my early 20s. At the time, I could beat up five of my mates at the same time. Right from that time, I realised that there were many things that I could do that others could not. My fame started growing. Whenever I was to perform, it was like I was possessed. The hair I used to pull vehicles never hurt. I felt nothing,” he said.
Pa Hanson told Saturday PUNCH that through the 60s and 70s, he ventured outside Nigeria to perform and spread his fame.
He said, “I went to Cairo, Egypt on a tourist visa and performed in public arenas. From there, I went to Ethiopia and established there for a while. I used Ethiopia as my headquarters for about seven years.
“After I left Ethiopia, I went to Kenya and also performed there. I performed in stadia and was always motivated when I saw the large crowd of people coming to watch my performances.”
While Pa Hanson, went around the continent performing, his wife of more than 40 years, held forth at home.
“I married my wife very young and she is now in her 60s. So, she was there at the early stage of my career. All my children were brought up and educated with the proceeds of my performances in and outside Nigeria,” he said.
Pa Hanson reminisced about his time in the stadia of Ethiopia and Kenya, where he challenged anybody in the crowd who felt he was strong enough to come out.
He said with just one arm, sometime up to 15 men could not move him.
Finally in the 80s, he decided to come back home.When Punch asked him to clarify the truth to his age claim because his physical look would make many doubt that he was indeed 77 and he simply laughed.
Between the 80s and 90s he performed in schools in Akwa Ibom and surrounding states, as pupils paid a token to watch him.
“Why would I lie about my age? What do I start to gain? My parents were literate and had a record of when I was born, but such records are long lost. I was born just before the start of World War II. Shortly after I was born, he went off to fight in the war,” he said.Pa Hanson’s daily exercise regime would humble a lot of fitness enthusiasts. According to him, he takes a walk every day, which sometimes goes on for up to 20 miles.
Pa Hanson currently keeps body and soul together through farming.