1st July 2015
Record number of entrants and spectators as competition returns to Ricoh Arena
Tuesday 30th June, 2015 – The British Weightlifting & Para-Powerlifting Championships returned to the Ricoh Arena last weekend in what is the sport’s biggest domestic competition, as the nation’s best male and female weightlifters and para-powerlifters battled it out for the coveted title of British Champion.
More than 115 athletes competed across 22 weight categories, and for the first time in the competition’s history, the event attracted more female than male entrants.
In a sold out opening day of competition on Saturday 27 June, Wales’ Gareth Evans dominated the afternoon’s session by setting a new British record in the men’s 62kg snatch; in doing so, Evans, who lifted 124kg, became the first British male since 1988 to lift twice his bodyweight in the discipline.
Evans’ clean and jerk lift of 145kg secured a total of 269kg and a second British record; Evans now holds all three British records in the men’s 62kg category.
The women’s 63kg category was all set to be hotly contested in the evening’s session, with UK Sport funded athlete and Commonwealth Games Champion Zoe Smith, English Champion Sarah Davies and fellow England and GB teammate Emily Godley all competing for the title of British Champion.
With Davies and Godley achieving totals of 202kg and 208kg respectively, it was Zoe Smith who came out on top, setting a new personal best in the snatch of 96kg to win with a total of 214kg; a result which also guarantees her a place at the 2015 IWF World Championships in November, the next qualifying event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Day one also saw a twentieth British title for Joanne Calvino, who won the women’s 53kg category with a total of 150kg.
On Sunday, it was the turn of the sport’s youngest ever British Champion, Rebekah Tiler, to return to the platform and defend her title in the women’s 69kg category; the 2015 World Youth Championships silver medallist continued her strong run of form by lifting 97kg in the snatch and 120kg in the clean and jerk to win with a total of 217kg.
Olympian and reigning English Champion Jack Oliver also reclaimed his British title in the men’s 77kg category, breaking his own British record in the snatch with a lift of 147kg, before narrowly missing out on setting a further two British records by failing his attempt of 176kg in the clean and jerk.
Oliver’s best clean and jerk lift of 173kg secured a winning total of 320kg and a second consecutive British title.
Throughout the weekend there was also success for British Weight Lifting’s Golden Chance squad, with Kathleen Spears winning the women’s 75kg category and podium places for Noorin Gulam (second in 53A category) and Isabel Rogers (third in 69A category).
Fellow Golden Chance athletes Loridana Bavetta, Laura Hewitt and Grace Lilley also competed in what was only their second competition since joining the all-female talent ID programme at the start of the year.
The morning of day two of the event also hosted the para-powerlifting competition; current IPC Powerlifting World Champion Ali Jawad won the men’s light category with a best lift of 195kg, with 2014 Invictus Games gold medallist Micky Yule finishing in second place with 191kg.
Four-time Paralympian Natalie Blake also secured another British title, winning the women’s light category with a lift of 95kg.
Commenting on the competition, Ashley Metcalfe, British Weight Lifting CEO, said: “We enjoyed a fantastic two days of lifting at what is our biggest domestic competition of the year, and the buzz and excitement in the build up to the event clearly transpired to the Ricoh last weekend.
“There was some notable results in both competitions, not least with Zoe Smith confirming her place at the World Seniors in November and Jo Calvino incredibly winning her 20th consecutive title. I must add huge congratulations to Gareth Evans for achieving a double bodyweight snatch; the first British male to do so in almost 30 years, whilst it was most encouraging to see The Golden Chance athletes delivering some fantastic performances.
“Feedback from athletes, coaches and spectators so far has been very positive and, with a record number of entrants and ticket sales having doubled since the 2014 event, this year’s competition marked a big step forwards for British Weight Lifting as we focus on supporting and inspiring our athletes and continue to drive the wider interest in the sport.”
Visit the British Weight Lifting website for the full results.