Kelly-Jo’s golden chance

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - SPORT -

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

Stock­ton weight ifter Kelly-Jo Rob­son

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