The England Commonwealth Games Training Squad
With 500 days to go until the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, England Weight Lifting are delighted to announce their initial Commonwealth Games Training Squad. Thirty individuals have been selected to go through further training with England Weight Lifting with the aim of getting their strongest and most successful weightlifting team to the event.
Marked as being the largest sports event to be held in the UK for a decade, the Commonwealth Games is certainly an event to look forward to. After over a year of turbulence across the world caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption to most training schedules, Birmingham 2022 feels like it might just be the light at the end of a tunnel.
Stuart Martin, England Talent Pathway Manager, said, “The commitment of English weightlifters and coaches over the last 12-months delivered some strong performances and progress for a large number of athletes. Selection was highly competitive with a number of international and previous commonwealth medallists as well as young up and coming individuals. There is going to be a lot of competition for places which is a strong position for England to find itself 18-months from the games.”
The Training Squad
M55 Benjamin Hickling
M67 Chris Freebury, Haroon Siraj
M73 Jonathan Chin, Jacob Finnigan
M81 Chris Murray, Jamal Isaac Shah, Stefano Cataldi
M96 Edmon Avetisyan, Jack Dobson, Ed Smale, Myren Madden
M109 Owen Boxall. Andrew Griffiths, Omar Keshta
M109+ Gordon Shaw, Mackkenzie Middleton
W49 Noorin Gulam
W55 Fraer Morrow, Jane Lee-Isted
W59 Jess Gordon-Brown, Jennifer Tong, Olivia Blatch
W64 Zoe Smith
W71 Sarah Davies, Emily Muskett, Debbie Alawode
W76 Sally Bennett, Nicola Stiddard, Sarah Wiltshire
W87 Jennifer Houghton, Emily Sweeney
W87+ Emily Campbell
What is the England Commonwealth Training Squad (CWTS)?
This CWTS is made up of top performing athletes who are either on a trajectory to win medals, finish in the top 6 at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games or have the potential to medal at future Commonwealth Games in 2026.
England Weight Lifting will be supporting athletes in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games, providing training camps, medical support, access to leading International coaches, and the opportunity to attend International competition to qualify for the Commonwealth Games and gain valuable competition experience.
Athletes competed at the Virtual England Championships to gain their well-earned place in the CWTS.
England has a great record in weightlifting, winning 9 medals in the 2018 Commonwealth Games alone. These medals included 1 Gold, 4 Silver and 4 Bronze. Over the course of the Commonwealth’s history, England is the third most successful weightlifting nation, having won 43 Gold, 45 Silver and 22 Bronze Medals over the years.
Since women’s weightlifting was introduced in 2002, England Weight Lifting’s team has seen Zoe Smith become the first female English medallist at the age of 16. She became the first female English champion four years later, a feat that has only been matched by Emily Muskett since. Birmingham 2022 will be Zoe’s fourth Commonwealth Games.
Other female medallists who are returning include Sarah Davies, who won silver at the Gold Coast in 2018, and Emily Campbell who won bronze also at the Gold Coast.
It will be the first chance for many to attend the Commonwealth Games, including Chris Murray, who says, “I’m thrilled to have been selected for the commonwealth training squad and officially start my journey to the 22 games. It’s great to be a part of such a high quality team all working towards the same goal.”
Returning for his chance at a third Commonwealth Games after winning bronze at the Gold Coast in 2018 is Owen Boxall, who says, “It’s a great privilege to be selected for the commonwealth squad, it gives me the opportunity to train with so many skilled athletes and work closely with the best coaches in the country on the pathway to Birmingham 2022. The fact that the next commonwealth game is on home soil makes me proud to be considered for selection and the chance to represent my country.”
England Weight Lifting hope to continue to build on these fantastic past successes.
Ashley Metcalfe, BWL CEO, said, “This is a fantastic squad with nice blend of youth and experience. The strong competition for places shows what great shape the sport is currently in domestically. At the last Commonwealth Games in 2018, England Weight Lifting had one of its most successful medal hauls in modern times. Now England Weight Lifting finds itself in a great position to build upon these solid foundations ahead of Birmingham 2022 and beyond”.
England Weight Lifting remain very grateful for the support that Sport England provide to ensure the team have the best possible preparations over the next 18 months.
Building on the success of the previous Commonwealth Games, England Weight Lifting are hopeful that further success at Birmingham 2022 will inspire new generations of lifters to come forward, to have a go for themselves, build our weightlifting community and to step up to the competition platform.