Autistic weightlifter Martyn hopes to inspire others

Weightlifting champion Martyn Riley in action.
Weightlifting champion Martyn Riley in action.

FEATHERSTONE weightlifter Martyn Riley hopes his remarkable achievements will encourage others to take part in sports.

Martyn is the first person diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to compete, referee and finish first in their class in a major international weightlifting match.

Martyn won his age/weight class in this summer’s European and International Masters Championships in Halmstead Sweden. He also refereed in two categories.

Said Martyn: “I managed to travel from the UK and home independently and I am very proud of what I achieved for myself, my country and autistic people.”

Martyn has broken numerous Northern England Masters weightlifting records and he has qualified for the European Masters Championships in Budapest at both 56kg and 62kg classes.

He is a four-time reigning British champion over three different age groups and has won multiple regional titles.

He is currently the oldest Northern England senior champion and ranked third in the BWL senior rankings at 56kg.

He has also recently been promoted to a IWF category two referee, the second highest possible rating achievable.

Martyn’s coach Nick Hall is also a highly successful international lifter who has finished as high as second in Europe and fourth in the world.

Nick has qualified for the European Masters championship and also the world championships in Barcelona.

He has won six consecutive British Masters titles and numerous regional titles.

Nick does not have any specialist training to coach weightlifters diagnosed with autism but by getting to know the lifters well he can give them the full benefit of his expert coaching.

Nick and Martyn are part of a great team at Featherstone Weightlifting Club which also includes Tracy Hall, Sharon Tepper, Thomas Smith, Michael Hall and Si Walker.

They coach the number one ranked under 17 team of children in the county and in Britain. The team includes three children diagnosed ASD.