Kelly-Jo’s golden chance
THEY say great things come in small bundles and that’s certainly the case with Teesside weightlifter Kelly-Jo Robson.
The 29-year-old from Stockton, who is about to take part in her first international competition, is just 4ft 11ins tall, and her competition weight is 48kg (7st 5lbs), but she is phenomenally strong.
Her record lift in the clean and jerk in competition is 78kg. To put that into perspective, she can lift the equivalent of a person weighing 12st 2lbs.
What’s even more remarkable is she’s only been weightlifting seriously for three-and-a-half years.
The English champion in 2016 and 2017, Robson will jet out to Australia on August 30 to take part in the Commonwealth Championships in Gold Coast.
The competition doubles as a test event for next year’s Commonwealth Games, which will also take place in the Gold Coast region of Queensland.
It’s fair to say Kelly-Jo, who origi- nally hails from Brotton, in East Cleveland, can’t wait to pull on her Team England kit
“I’ve never represented England so it’s a really new experience, I’m dead excited and a bit scared at the same time,” she admitted.
“I am so happy, I can wait to be on a stage and represent my country, I just think it will be amazing.
“To win in Australia, I would be over the moon, that would surely cement my place in the team for the Commonwealth Games next year.”.
Kelly, whose competitive personal bests are 62kg (snatch) and 78kg (clean and jerk), took up weightlifting almost by accident.
“I didn’t have an interest at all in weighlifting, I didn’t even know what a barbell was,” she said.
“I became interested after starting an internship at Durham University studying strength and conditioning.
“To teach athletes strength and conditioning, you have to be able to teach them Olympic weight lifting. To develop strength, speed and power it’s a really good tool to use as a strength and conditioning coach to support athletes.
“So I had a little go at it and after doing that we had a day where a GB weightlifting coach came in and delivered a workshop to make sure we had the best tools we could possibly have to enable us to teach it, and he is now one of my coaches.
“We had a practical weekend and I just got better and better the more he coached me he said ‘you should do an Olympic weightlifting competition’ and he helped me out.
“I did my first competition and I won!” she added.The commitment displayed by Kelly-Jo is, in terms of time, effort and finance, remarkable.
Elite Olympic Weightlifting doesn’t currently receive funding from UK Sport National Lottery Funding, so competitors must cover all their own costs.
“Sponsorship would really help,” said Kelly-Jo, who works for Lifestyle Fitness, in Middlesbrough.
“Anything helps, if a company would be able to cover my petrol expenses to get to and from training in Derby, that would be amazing because that currently comes out of my wages.
“I’ve two coaches,. They’re based in Derby, so I travel every week, or every other week, on a Friday to train with my coaches and it’s two hours there and two hours back.
“I drive down there, train, and if I’m having a double training day, I’ll have lunch and chill with the other lifters and then train again and all that comes out of my pocket.
“I am doing a go fund me page and I have to raise money to fund myself to get to Australia in September.
“The money raised is to cover the cost of the flight to Australia and the cost of accommodation and the competition entry fee. Also, 20% of the amount raised goes to the Middlesbrough-based charity My Sisters Place.”
To help Kelly-Jo compete in Australia, make a donation by visiting www.gofundme.com/Kelly-jo
Stockton weight ifter Kelly-Jo Robson