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27 April 2023

BANGOR WEIGHTLIFTING CLUB - Community Lifters Feature

Run by David Jones, Bangor University Weightlifting Club is a crucial base for Weightlifting Wales, offering a fantastic facility for squads, training camps, national and international competitions.

As a membership club, Bangor University Weightlifting Club are relatively new but have always had elite weightlifters train from the facility, including the Chinese Olympic team ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Over time, however, Dave and the team decided to put a club together for the community, to coexist alongside the elite side – and the club has flourished since.

“We’ve got a good community,” David told Weightlifting Wales, “where a lot of people train together and are very supportive of each other – everyone wants to see everybody else do well. There’s a lot of good friendship around the club.

“We have a lot of people on the same level as well as having a few elite athletes, and everyone helps each other to keep the interest in and around the club. The collective has been the main thing to allow the club to grow.”

Despite the success that his club has already seen, David has suggested there is more to come.

“We hope to see the club become a bit more established and see more lifters go to competitions,” he explained.

“It’s becoming more and more popular too, so we’d like to offer people more sessions by coaches throughout the week – this is important to ensure that beginners don’t feel uninvolved when around the elite level. It all helps introduce new people to the sport!

“The club is working really well in any case,” David continued. “We have people travelling 50 miles to take part in the club, which is pretty good!”

Bangor University Weightlifting Club also offers the Raise the Bar programme, a free-of-charge six-week introduction to weightlifting.

“It was a successful programme for us; it was really useful. It’s such a good introduction for them, and they don’t have to pay to get involved.

“Of course, you have differing numbers from week to week with people of that age having multiple commitments, but we’ve had a few of them continue with the sport and we now have a junior weightlifting club, which is still getting good numbers.”

While new lifters are visibly enjoying being introduced to the sport, Bangor University Weightlifting Club has always had success with the more established athletes at the gym, as well.

“We’ve had a few successes with people training from here and heading out to competitions.

“Catrin Jones, for example, is one of our lifters and she of course went to the U23 European Championships last year and picked up gold,” David stated, speaking proudly of the achievements of his own daughter.

“We have a good number of lifters at that elite level, now, and that’s important to have at the gym. It’s good for those young lifters, who want a goal and want to progress, to have elite training and something visible to work towards around them.

“It really makes a difference – everybody does look up to them and tries to achieve what they’ve achieved, especially those young lifters.

“It goes a long way with them,” David continued, “It rubs off on them and really supports them in getting to where they want to be – and it’s the best way to keep them within the sport. Having that component in the gym rounds everything off for me, and of course brings success!”

It’s wonderful to see weightlifting develop in Wales, with more and more people getting involved.

“The sport is getting bigger all the time, and what has really increased is female participation,” affirmed David. “And it’s great to see such quality with that too!”

“You’d hardly see one female athlete come into a gym when I started out,” concluded David, “but now there are so many really trying and managing to progress within the sport – from beginner to elite level. It shows great investment in the sport, in terms of where it’s going.”