I got into weightlifting six and a half years ago when I was 11. I started at my secondary school, my dad and my uncle used to be power lifters, so I think, I was kind of inspired by what they did. I’m 4ft 9in so, I am really, really little, but in weightlifting you find quite a lot of weightlifters are quite small. A lot of people used to say oh, you’re small because you did weightlifting and it stunts your growth and all these things, but to me that makes just as much sense as telling a high jumper that their sport made them tall. It’s nonsense, it’s just they happen to be better at that sport because of their physique, so if you watched weightlifting you would see that quite a lot of them are quite petite, obviously quite well-built, but quite petite.
The main power in the lift comes from your legs and the strength in your back so most people think that weightlifters have massive arm muscles and stuff but, your arms are literally just levers to hold the bar and your legs and your back will do all the hard work. It’s kind of an all round, all body, kind of work out.
Weightlifting is a really psychological sport, obviously the thought of throwing these weights above your head, you don’t really think about what could happen if it goes wrong. You could be the strongest person in the world but if you don’t believe that you can lift what you are about to attempt then you probably won’t. I’m normally quite good at just staying focused on what I am doing. If you start thinking about what they’re lifting and stuff, it will make you more nervous and especially if you start hearing people failing lifts and stuff, it’s like oh God, they’re failing lifts so, it’s my turn next, so you kind of just, switch off from what they’re doing.
In competition, you do the snatch and the clean and jerk, so they’re two different kinds of, events or disciplines. You have three attempts for each discipline. A snatch is the more technically difficult, you start from the floor, you have a wide grip and you pull the weight above your head and catch it in a full squat position, so it’s literally from the floor straight above your head and then you stand up. A clean and jerk you start from the floor, lift the weight and catch it on your chest and then stand up and then the jerk is pushing the weight above your head.
Your first attempt… it shouldn’t be really really easy, but it should be fairly comfortable and you should be confident with that weight. It’s no good really going out on something you’ve never lifted or you’ve only lifted once because, you’re going to be nervous and all sorts of things could throw you off course, so, you want to be confident you are going to get your first attempt.
The selections period for weightlifting to qualify, starts in October and that’s until March next year, so, from September it’s going to start getting a lot more exciting, see what people are lifting and obviously what I’m lifting and stuff. So, I’ll be moving up to Leeds to train at the National High Performance Centre for Weightlifting. We have a lot of support up in Leeds, we have a strength and conditioning coach that helps us with all the core stability and, strengthening areas that might not get as strong through the normal training which need to be strong. We have nutritionists, we have access to sports psychologists, so I think with that kind of network up there it’s just going to kind of piece everything together and try and make training in the next 12 months go as smoothly as possible with their help .
As of yet I haven’t really felt the pressure from the press and stuff. I haven’t had an awful lot, but it is nice to, kind of, get recognition for how hard we train especially in this sport as, in this country people don’t really know about weightlifting. But it also, kind of makes, next year seem a lot more realistic. Everyone is talking about the Olympics, everyone asks about ‘What are your chances?’, ‘What are you doing to train towards them?’, so, I think it’s just kind of putting me in the right mind set now because, there’s no escaping that the Olympics is next year.