British Weight Lifting’s women lead challenge for remaining places at Commonwealth Games following recent European success
Outstanding performances from Britain’s female athletes at the recent Senior European Weightlifting Championships have set the benchmark for the upcoming British Senior Championships on 10-11 May, when competitors will have one final chance to qualify for this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
London 2012 competitor Zoe Smith returned to the international stage at this month’s Senior European Championships for the first time since the Olympics, and celebrated by becoming the first British woman since 2003 to win an overall European weightlifting medal.
Smith finished third and in bronze medal position in the 58kg class with a total of 204kg, also securing a second bronze in the clean and jerk with a lift of 114kg.
Emily Godley and Sarah Davis both achieved personal bests at the same competition, as the women’s team finished in an impressive eighth place out of thirty, beating traditional weightlifting powerhouses including Bulgaria, Belarus, Germany and Armenia.
The men’s team produced a solid performance, finishing eighteenth out of 32.
The recent successes of British Weight Lifting’s female athletes follows last month’s announcement from UK Sport who confirmed that funding would be reinstated for the women’s elite programme for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
“There is no doubt that these are really exciting times for British Weight Lifting and we have a fantastic group of very talented young female lifters, whose latest performances prove that they are amongst the best in their field,” confirmed British Weight Lifting’s CEO Ashley Metcalfe.
Triumph at the European Senior Championships was bolstered further by events at the IPC Powerlifting World Championships in Dubai on 5-11 April, where Britain’s Ali Jawad was crowned world champion in the 59kg class, breaking his previous world record by 4.5kg to secure gold with a lift of 190kg.
British Weight Lifting enjoyed further success in the junior under 20’s competition, where Pani Mamuneas lifted a personal best of 121kg in the 54kg class and secured silver in only his second appearance on an international stage, whilst Micky Yule and Natalie Blake both secured top five finishes in their respective weight categories.
In a week of successes, Sonny Webster was also retrospectively awarded bronze from last year’s European Junior and Under 23 Weightlifting Championships; Webster originally finished fourth in the 2013 competition but was upgraded after the gold medallist from Azerbaijan was disqualified following an investigation into doping.
“We’ve enjoyed a hectic international schedule over recent weeks but focus now turns towards the UK, with the British Nationals and IPC Powerlifting Championships just weeks away. This will be the last chance for competitors to confirm their place in Glasgow this summer, where we are already confident of excellent performances,” confirmed Metcalfe.
“Next month’s event will be the first time that we host the British Senior and IPC Powerlifting Championships under one roof and team successes over recent weeks, which have included six personal bests for our athletes, means that the two days promise to be a fantastic showcase for our sport.”
The 2014 British Senior and IPC Powerlifting Championships are taking place on 10-11 May at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. Tickets are on sale now and prices start from £10.00 for adults and £5.00 for children and concessions.