Castleford theatre hosts successful weightlifting championships

Over 100 athletes competed in the championships.
Over 100 athletes competed in the championships.

Castleford Phoenix Theatre hosted the highly-successful English Weightlifting Championships last weekend.

Over 100 athletes competed in the championships, a record for the event which marked the start of the 2015 major domestic competition calendar.

Ashley Metcalfe, British Weightlifting CEO, said: “As the first major competition of the year, the English Championships always draw hard-fought battles and the 2015 event certainly didn’t disappoint.

“Fantastic performances from our international athletes such as Jack (Oliver) and Sarah (Davies) as well as some very encouraging displays from athletes who were competing for the first time at this level.

“It was great to see some new competitors from CrossFit clubs along with some of the athletes we identified from our Golden Chance talent identification initiative.

“It shows that we have some great developing talent within the sport and for those identified through Golden Chance to win a combined seven medals is an outstanding achievement as well as a great endorsement for our talent identification process. It shows that there is a great future for women’s weightlifting.”

The championships welcomed athletes across 14 weight categories, as the country’s leading male and female lifters battled it out for the coveted title of English Champion.

Current British Senior champion and Glasgow 2014 fourth-placed athlete Jack Oliver delivered a superbc performance in the men’s 77kg category, setting three British records in the snatch (146kg), clean and jerk (173kg) and total (319kg). His record-breaking clean and jerk lift was secured on his third attempt, after failing at 168kg previously.

Fellow Europa Weightlifting Club teammate Sarah Davies won gold in the women’s 58kg category, achieving 84kg in the snatch, 100kg in the clean and jerk and a total of 184kg.

Oliver and Davies were awarded best male and female lifter respectively, a title which was determined by Sinclair points.

Former British Champion and GB international Hannah Powell made her return from injury at the weekend competing in the women’s 48kg category.

Powell beat her first attempt at the clean and jerk by an impressive 10kg to score a total of 145kg and be named English Champion.

Nineteen-time British Champion Jo Calvino was the one to beat in the women’s 53kg category; despite scoring an impressive total of 145kg, she was out-lifted by Stars for the Future’s and Olympic Development athlete Noorin Gulam, who won the category by five kilograms, scoring 66kg in the snatch and 84kg in the clean and jerk.

There were also wins for Jaswant Shergill (men’s 62kg) and Chris Freebury (men’s 69kg), whilst seven medals were awarded to female athletes who had been identified as part of British Weight Lifting’s Golden Chance talent scheme, launched last month to find future female weightlifting stars.

Of these seven, two women came first in their categories to be crowned English Champions in their first competition.

In the women’s 63kg classification, Grace Lilley from Sutton and Epsom Weightlifting Club came first with a total of 153kg while Kara Halliwell from Crossfit JST in Wigan topped the Women’s 69kg class with a total of 167kg.