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8 March 2024


As part of International Women's Day, Weightlifting Wales athlete Niamh Collins has wrote the following article to sum up her experiences participating in the sport.


I was a dancer for 13 years before I started weightlifting properly. My dad took me to the gym once and I loved it! I quit dance a year later and have been weightlifting for the past 6 years. My proudest achievement is getting selected to compete at the Commonwealth Championships for Wales, I felt that my training and hard work had all paid off. Being able to win that competition was also amazing. I would love to be able to compete internationally for Wales again, especially at the Commonwealth Games! I really hope to inspire the younger generation of female athletes to dream big and know that they are capable of anything they put their minds to.

All female athletes are proof that girls can dominate in any arena. Their courage and determination keep me going, always reminding me to never back down. Some of my teammates, Leah Clarke and Emma McCready, are two women I constantly look up to. They are incredibly wise, courageous, and supportive women and athletes, and I am so grateful I’ve had the opportunity to train alongside them. Anushka Bovill is another incredibly influential athlete and role model who I constantly look up to. She is an advocate for female athletes, and she uses her platform to empower women to take up space and reminds us that our voices matter and we deserve to be heard and proud of all our achievements. The support she gives me, both in training and in my personal life, has been invaluable and I think she truly embodies a role model for women in sport.

In high school, there were a few occasions where the boys would make comments or laugh at me for weightlifting, and even now online I have received comments about my ability as an athlete, what I look like and how I shouldn’t be weightlifting because it’s a “man’s sport”. These outdated stereotypes about women in strength sports can be really harmful and as I am an athlete in a heavier weight category, the comments on my body have taken a toll on my mental health.

Overcoming these obstacles hasn’t been easy but surrounding myself with a community of fellow female athletes and mentors, both online and in person, has allowed me to meet such an amazing and supportive network of people who are all working towards greater inclusivity in sports and fighting to get us into the spotlight that we all deserve to be in to showcase our achievements.


Embrace your strength, defy expectations, and never let anyone tell you what you can and cannot achieve. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself physically and mentally. Weightlifting isn’t just about lifting weights, it’s about learning to push your limits, building resilience, and discovering inner strength and determination. Your ability as an athlete is not determined by what you look like, so don’t shrink yourself and your opinions and proudly take up space, embrace your passion for what you do and chase your dreams fearlessly.

To a young girl considering weightlifting, weightlifting is not just for boys, it’s for anyone! Don’t be afraid to start and don’t be afraid to dream big, the weightlifting community is always here to support you and celebrate your successes! You are capable of amazing things, so embrace the challenges, be proud of your uniqueness and remember you’re capable of anything you put your mind to!

- Feeling inspired?
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