Eleven Featherstone weightlifters crowned English champions

Featherstone's young weightlifters were in magnificent form at the English Schools Championships at Warwick College.
Featherstone's young weightlifters were in magnificent form at the English Schools Championships at Warwick College.

FEATHERSTONE Weightlifting Club’s talented young team, called Raptors, added to their already considerable achievements at the inaugural English Schools Championship.

Featherstone had 13 medalists and 11 English champions at the competition at Warwick College, Leamington Spa.

The first group was for the boys in school years three to six and the club had the most entrants of any club with five in this category.

In the year four 35kg class, Mitchell Kitson lifted competition personal bests on the snatch and clean and jerk to claim the title.

In the year five 35kg class, the Raptors had two outstanding lifters who both lifted personal bests and completed all their lifts as Oliver Tepper narrowly claimed the title, scoring a perfect techique snatch, with Blake Rowlands second in the class with also much improved lifting technique.

Leon Cockerham, in only his second match, added the English title in the year six 35kg class to the Yorkshire title he won earlier in the year as did Matthew Longfield in the year five 45kg class. Both lifters showed excellent technique in getting all six lifts completed successfully.

The second group was the year seven to eight high school boys which is the last of the development age groups in which safety and good technique is encouraged as all lifts count and technique points are added to the total.

In the year seven 35kg class, Jack Hawkins, in only his second match, showed immense character with the support of his coaches Nick and Michael Hall. Jack recovered superbly with his last snatch lift and also had a massive 31kg jerk lift to claim second place.

Len Fajic scored two perfect four point snatches to claim the English title to add to his Northern England and Yorkshire titles after lifting for only eight months.

Thomas Cooper Mahon also lifted magnificently to complete all his lifts with excellent style and technique to claim his first national title in the year seven 45kg class with a competition best total.

The final group of lifters from the Raptors were the girl competitors from the development and also youth lifters from school years nine to 11.

With three snatch lifts and three clean and jerk attempts, the largest completed lift from each made the final total.

In the year three 40kg class, the club’s youngest competitor Chloe Hutchinson, in only her second competition, posted six successful lifts with some excellent technique scores to claim the English title. Lily Tepper, like her twin brother Oliver, is already a two-time Northern England and Yorkshire champion and she is now also an English champion. She won the year four 30kg class with all her six lifts, showing excellent style.

Alicia Ellam not only won the year five 35kg national title to add to the three regional titles she already held but scored a remarkable 71 out of 72 technique points available, which was the best of any lifter on the day.

Sydney Burnett underlined why she is already a six-time Northern England champion and British gold and silver medalist by achieving new personal best lifts of 29kg and 35kg, plus a massive 70 out of 72 points for her lifts.

Lea Saka Fajic is a current Yorkshire and Northern England champion and is now a English champion in the year 11 69kg class where technique isn’t scored and not all attempts count towards the total.

Lea completed all her attempts. Her personal best lifts of 40 and 52 for a 92kg total would be good enough to qualify for the British under 17 championship.

There was excellent coaching on the day by club coaches Nick and Michael Hall and also in the gym in the build up from Sharon Tepper and Martyn Riley.

The club thanked all the parents and family members who travelled in the snow to support the kids in Featherstone’s most successful ever national championship for schools lifters. The club are also grateful to Featherstone and District Lions and Wakefield District Council for their support.

Anyone interested in joining Featherstone Weightlifting Club can contact club coach Michael Hall on 07722 964209. He can also be contacted via messenger on Facebook as can Featherstone Raptors Weightlifting.

The club will welcome all youngsters whether they want to train towards competing in tournaments or just want to take up the sport for exercise purposes.