England event provides perfect preparation for Wale’s Powell to shine on Ricoh Return
Two years after suffering a severe elbow injury at the British Championships Hannah Powell returned to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry and clinched bronze in the British International Open.
The result was a culmination of a long hard-fought battle back to the top of the sport which included a guest appearance at the England Championships back in January that helped earn the Welsh lifter a place back in the Team GB set up.
The 26-year-old athlete was competing in the 49kg class in Coventry for Great Britain at the Ricoh.
She produced a total of 151kg to round out the podium alongside fellow Team GB compatriot Kelly-Jo Robson who hauled 156kg while China’s Zhang Rong won with a total of 195kg.
“I was really pleased with that,” said Powell.
“It’s actually been a long two years really and this is the first time I have lifted at this venue since the injury and that was another challenge thrown in there today for me.
“I wasn’t coming for anything in particular other than a good performance from myself and I am really happy with the result.”
Powell started the day on 64kg and then went three from three on the snatch to secure 66kg at the interval.
She then carried that momentum forward into the clean & jerk phase where she hit 82kg, and 85kg before just missing out on 89kg with her final effort.
The display was even more impressive considering Powell usually competes in the 45kg class.
Powell moved up a division for the event as part of her Commonwealth Championships preparations after being selected as part of the Welsh Weightlifting squad for the event in Samoa.
Speaking after the British Powell said: “I didn’t want to have to make weight twice in four weeks, so we just came to this weighed whatever and I lifted as a 49,”
“I’ve got about 2 kilos to lose, if that, so I am just hoping to retain my strength and just do a similar performance to this weekend. If I can build on it a little bit, then I will do.”
The strategy ultimately paid off as she went on to win a Silver medal in Samoa a couple of weeks later.
It was another strong Commonwealth competition for Powell who previously finished 4th wearing Team England colours in 2011 & 2013.
That recent result also emulated the second spot she secured in 2016 where she represented Wales for the first time.
Powell totalled a strong 148kg in Samoa demonstrating that she was able to maintain her strength from this year’s British event.
However, wind back the clock 24 months and it was a different story as she had to pull out of the British Championships due to a potentially career-ending injury.
Powell was comfortably leading the Woman’s 48kg category at the Ricoh in 2017 when disaster struck, and she dislocated her elbow.
The competition was temporally suspended while she received assistance from BWL medical delegate Dr Mike Irani.
After withdrawing from the event Powell had to undergo surgery when it became apparent that some serious damage had been inflicted to her joint.
Since then Welsh international has been on a long road to recovery.
“It’s just been about taking small steps back and being sensible and only lifting what I am capable of lifting officially,” said Powell.
After nine months of rehabilitation, she battled back to compete in the 2018 Commonwealth Games Down Under in the Gold Coast and was able to record a classified finish of 10th.
Then earlier this year she competed as a guest lifter at the England Championships hosted at Milton Keynes in January and smashed the then British 45kg record by hauling 140kg over her head.
That result earned her a spot at the European Championships. She subsequently flew out to Batumi, Georgia, with Team GB in April and finished 6th in her class by lifting 146kg.
It was an encouraging performance as she only ended up four kilograms short of the overall podium.
Those two events, combined with a strong Welsh National Championships display, would provide the perfect pathway for a return to the Ricoh and subsequent Samoa success.
“I feel like I am still stronger than what I lift,” said Powell. “But we still have to be conservative to keep injury away.”