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15 March 2024

Incredible impact of Raise the Bar at Llanelli Weightlifting Academy

Since January 2022, Llanelli Weightlifting Academy has done fantastic work in delivering the Raise the Bar programme.

Since January 2022, Llanelli Weightlifting Academy has done fantastic work in delivering the Raise the Bar programme.

Not only does the initiative provide vital opportunities for young people to get started with weightlifting and feel the physical and mental benefits, but it attracts fresh faces to clubs across Wales.

“We are proud of the success of the Raise the Bar programme at Llanelli Weightlifting Academy,” coach Matthew de Filippo told Weightlifting Wales.

“We are grateful for the support provided by Weightlifting Wales, as it has revitalised our club! It has allowed team sports athletes to develop their physical prowess whilst giving other young people an alternative to the traditional team sports that are popular in our local community.”

The Raise the Bar programme has been a powerful tool for young people to get and keep active in the local community, as well as having a bug impact for Llanelli Weightlifting Academy itself.

“More than 200 teenagers from the local community have benefited from our free scheme and visited our club,” Matthew revealed. “As a result, our membership has increased by 500%, leading to more revenue generation. With this increased revenue, we have been able to reinvest into the club and support our Academy members by covering their competition entry fees.

“Raise the Bar has helped us create a Youth Academy consisting of around 20 competitive weightlifters. Additionally, we have formed a beginners' weightlifting group with approximately 30 attendees.”

Weightlifting Wales is delighted to witness such a positive outcome from the Raise the Bar programme, and thrilled to see the game-changing impact it can have for clubs and communities in Wales.

“Our Raise the Bar programme is designed to promote equality and provide young people with opportunities, regardless of their race, gender, or social background,” continued Matthew. “The club environment supports their wellbeing by offering opportunities for structure, routine, and personal development as both an athlete and a person.

“In addition to the obvious physical health benefits, the program also promotes healthy psychological wellbeing.”

Apart from social and physical benefits for the local community and the evident financial positive for the club, the Raise the Bar programme has also been a valuable tool in athlete progression for Llanelli Weightlifting Academy.

“We were thrilled to witness the outstanding performances of our Academy members at the Welsh Age Groups in January,” commented Matthew. “Together, they won a total of six gold medals, six silver medals, and one bronze medal.

“In November 2023, our club had 21 Youth Members participate in the Academy Open. We are determined to exceed that number in the upcoming May 2024 Academy Open.

“There will be several Raise the Bar attendees who will be competing in their first competition!

“Moreover, the club has seen some of its athlete's progress to Regional and Welsh Development Squads. We are confident that this trend will continue, and the club will have several representative athletes soon.”