UK weightlifting chiefs hope Emily Campbell’s money will lead to more fundraising

Britain’s top weightlifters are set to reap the rewards of a bright new future after Emily Campbell’s historic silver medal in Tokyo on Monday.

Campbell was crowned the first British medalist in the sport after lifting 161kg on the clean and jerk to seal an unlikely second place in the women’s +87kg category.

The 27-year-old had relied on donations from her community near Nottingham to fund her Olympic bid, while teammate Zoe Smith turned to crowdfunding and worked at a cafe to generate enough income to keep going. to train.

Emily Campbell hopes to inspire a new generation of weightlifters (Martin Rickett / PA)

But after saying they were “shocked and devastated” when the sport lost its funding in the UK following the Rio Olympics in 2016, UK weightlifting leaders are now hoping Campbell’s astonishing example will win. additional support for the three-year cycle until Paris 2024.

“It’s hard to say how special it is for the sport, from the loss of funding four years ago to someone like Emily falling into our knees,” said performance manager Stu Martin. from British Weightlifting and Team Leader from Tokyo.

“I hope there will be more funding now. We have received some support through the aspiration fund and now we have a great group of young girls with potential who hopefully feel incredibly inspired by what they have seen.

Campbell’s silver medalist 161kg clean and jerk lifted a new British record and confirmed her place on the podium behind 21-year-old Li Wenwen of China, whose cumulative total of 320kg set a new Olympic record and put her in a whole different league.

She placed fourth after the clean and jerk section of the competition, but seized the opportunity beautifully, timing her entry perfectly with a second lift of 156kg to secure a medal before the thrilling final of the competition.

“Every time you go out it’s a huge pressure,” Campbell said. “You must join the board of directors and you must not be left behind. You need to focus and perform this movement as if you are not at the Olympics. “

Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 & # x002013;  Tenth day

Emily Campbell’s 161kg clean and jerk ribbon (Martin Rickett / PA)

British Weightlifting will now nominate athletes, including Campbell, for additional funding from UK Sport, and their candidacy will certainly be viewed more favorably after a successful round which saw a team of four female athletes, including Smith, qualify for Tokyo.

The blow of losing funding contributed to rising star Rebekah Tiler’s decision to quit the sport and move on to powerlifting following her appearance in Rio, and Martin is hoping Campbell’s success and personality will help convince a new generation. of weightlifting talent to persevere.

“We are making a really concerted effort right now to create more opportunities for young people to engage in our sport,” added Martin.

“I really hope the kids watching at home tonight can feel super inspired by what they’re seeing, and they could grab a bar and try it out.”

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