Britain’s top powerlifters have put in solid performances at the UK Open Bench Press Championships at the weekend, one of the last opportunities for them to improve their world rankings before the list closes for Beijing qualification at the end of the month.
The event, which took place at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff, saw several personal best performances from Britain’s established athletes as well as a number of new athletes competing in their first competition.
Athens Paralympian Natalie Blake, lifting at her very best to increase her own British record to 97.5kg, became only the second British female ever to lift twice her body weight, which helped to improve her chances for Beijing selection.
Louise Iontton (Ilkley, West Yorks), who has decreased bodyweight to get down into the lowest of the female categories - the up to 40kg class - did well to lift 60kg to get herself ranked well in that class and become another contender for potential selection as a relatively new lifter.
Welsh lifter Julie Salmon (Pontypridd), in the up to 52kg class, and Chris Rattenbury (Milton Keynes), in the up to 82.5kg class, both stayed focussed and performed extremely well despite having other distractions such as hospitalisation and family bereavement to contend with in recent weeks. Although neither lifted PBs they finished with good final lifts of 77.5kg and 160kg respectively.
Junior Zoe Newson impressed on her competition debut and youngster Nathaniel Wilding performed well to bench-press 85kg in the up to 52kg class. Both are likely to be ones-to-watch for London in 2012.
The UK Open Bench Press Championships took place in Cardiff on Saturday, January 12, 2008. Seven female and 22 male athletes took part in the competition, including five athletes from France.