British Weight Lifting

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Mystery of 1936 Olympics Weightlifter Charles Harris Gotts of Castleford

Charles Gotts of Castleford was a champion weightlifter in 1934, and was in Berlin with the team in 1936, but there is no record of him competing. Does anyone have any more information about him?

Charles Gotts was a self-employed builder in Castleford, and won several championships, including the Northern Counties and British Middleweight championship in 1934. His daughter Jean Tonkinson has been trying to find out more details of his involvement as she has seen a photo of him with the British Olympic team in Berlin all wearing the British team kit. Unfortunately, the photo has since been destroyed in a fire.

We have checked all the British Olympic Association records and there is no mention of Charles at all, and only accommodation for 5 competitors, the Team Manager G Walsh, and BAWLA Hon Tres PF Cranmer.

The team consisted of: F Marsh Featherweight, HEK Laurance Middleweight, N Holroyd Featherweight, A Griifin Lightweight, R Walker Heavyweight. This is the photo from the British Olympic Association Report:

Unfortunately Charles died of cancer when his daughter Jean was 10, so all she has are the stories from her mother and a silk scarf  showing the flags of all the countries competing in the Olympics. All the relatives and friends of Charles have died, so she has no more sources of information locally.

Was he there as a reserve? He must have had a visa granted to be able to go. Does anyone else have copies of the photo with Charles Gotts, or have any information about Charles Gotts as a weightlifter or why he was at the 1936 Olympics? Maybe families of the team have copies or some more information about their time there.

Please contact Ian Gotts who will pass on any information on:

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Glasgow 2014: our most successful Commonwealth Games since 2002

A review from British Weight Lifting CEO Ashley Metcalfe

This year’s Commonwealth Games provided the platform for British Weight Lifting and our athletes to showcase the undisputed growth and development of the sport across the home nations, in what has been crowned the most successful Games for Great Britain and England since 2002.

Building on what has been a fantastic year for British weightlifting and powerlifting which has already seen us host the biggest and most successful National Championships to date, confidence heading into the XX Commonwealth Games was high.

None more so than for current British Senior Champion and 2014 Senior European Championships medallist Zoe Smith, who was aiming to build on her bronze medal win at Delhi 2010.

Smith lifted 92kg in the snatch before a dramatic finale to the women’s 58kg category, where she achieved 118kg – and a new Games record - in her final attempt at the clean and jerk, beating Nigeria’s Ndidi Winifred to first place and setting another Games record with a total of 210kg.

Wales’ Michaela Breeze, who returned to competitive weightlifting following her retirement from the sport after winning silver at the last Commonwealth Games, also set a Games record with 93kg in the snatch before going onto finish third in the same category with a total of 202kg.

There was further medal success as England won its first medal in the men’s competition since 2002, with Ben Watson setting a new personal best in the 105kg category and finishing third with a total of 337kg.

Aside from the medal winners, there were also ten top five finishes for home nation athletes including six fourth place finishes; Jack Oliver, Owen Boxall, Mercy Brown and Rebekah Tiler for England, Wales’ Darius Jokarzadeh and Scotland’s Micky Yule in the powerlifting.

There was also eight personal bests recorded by British weightlifting athletes including two British records broken by Wales’ Gareth Evans, who achieved 150kg in the clean and jerk and a total of 268kg in the men’s 62kg category.

On the final Saturday of the Games, attention turned to the powerlifting competition, with all three of British Weight Lifting’s representatives in medal contention.

First up four-time Paralympian, England’s Natalie Blake. Blake achieved a best lift of 95kg in the women’s lightweight category, scoring 100.2 points and securing second place, becoming the first British female powerlifter to win a Commonwealth Games medal in the history of the sport.

The men’s lightweight category followed, featuring current World Champion Ali Jawad; with his second lift, Jawad set a new world record in the 59kg class with 191kg, before achieving three white lights with his final lift of 194kg, setting a competition personal best and beating his own previous record of 190kg set in April at the IPC World Powerlifting Championships.

Despite such achievements, as a result of the competition’s weighted scoring system - which produces a points score relating to each athlete’s bodyweight - Jawad finished in bronze medal position.

Scotland’s Micky Yule competed in the men’s heavyweight category and, despite recovering from a muscle tear which impacted his preparation for the competition, Yule only narrowly missed out on third place, finishing just five points behind Malaysia’s Jong Yee Khie.

The XX Commonwealth Games was a resounding success for our athletes, not only accounting for the medals won and records broken, but for the top level performances achieved across the board. For nine of our athletes to have achieved personal bests on an international stage is very impressive, and underpins our strategy of professionalising the sport on a domestic level as we work hard to create a more competitive environment for our athletes.

Not only that, the average age of our weightlifters who finished in fourth place is just 20 years old, and with Rio 2016 in our sights and the potential for not only the 2018 Commonwealth Games but also Tokyo 2020, this puts us in a very good position for ensuring the growth and success of our sport.

Powerlifters add to England’s Commonwealth Games medal haul on penultimate day of competition

British Weight Lifting and England athletes Natalie Blake and Ali Jawad contributed to England’s impressive medal tally on the final Saturday of the Games, winning silver and bronze respectively.

Natalie Blake, the four-time Paralympian competed in the women’s lightweight category and was successful with her first lift of 87kg. Blake scored three more white lights with her second lift of 91kg, before going on to lift 95kg and finishing in second place with a total of 100.2 points.

In winning silver, Blake became the first ever British female powerlifter to win a Commonwealth Games medal in the history of the sport.

Current IPC World Champion Ali Jawad was competing in the men’s lightweight category and with his second lift, set a new world record in the 59kg class with 191kg, before a successful final lift of 194kg, setting a competition personal best and beating his own previous record of 190kg set earlier this year.

Despite such achievements, as a result of the competition’s weighted scoring system - which produces a points score relating to each athlete’s bodyweight - Jawad finished in bronze medal position.

Scotland’s Micky Yule competed in the men’s heavyweight category and, having only recently recovered from a muscle tear which impacted his preparation for the competition, narrowly missed out on third place, finishing just five points behind Malaysia’s Jong Yee Khie.

Commenting on the performance of the British powerlifters, Ashley Metcalfe, British Weight Lifting CEO, said: “British Para-powerlifting has been going from strength to strength over recent months so the pressure was on in Glasgow, particularly for Ali whose year so far has already seen him crowned world champion and world record holder.

“All three athletes put in fantastic performances and we were delighted to come away with two more medals - plus another world record for Ali, with Micky only narrowly missing out on third place; what a fantastic way to round off ten days of brilliant competition and outstanding performances from our athletes.”

How the Commonwealth Games scoring system works

Although athletes normally compete in their individual bodyweight classes, in the case of the Commonwealth Games the lowest five and highest five weight categories are merged to form a lightweight and heavyweight class.

In order to determine who the best lifter is across multiple classes, bodyweight is taken into account via the use of the A-H formula which produces a points score which is specific to each athlete’s bodyweight. The best load lifted by each athlete is multiplied by this A-H formula, which then generates a points total for each competitor. The athlete with the highest A-H points total wins.

This means that the biggest lift of the day doesn’t always win and as a result, athletes are able to break world records for their own specific bodyweight class regardless of the bodyweight class merger at the event.

Want to get involved? Check out the participation initiative for para powerlifting in London here.


The youth and community sports development charity, Active Communities Network, are delighted to announce that the British weightlifting legend Jo Calvino has agreed to be their fifth, and newest, trustee.


Croydon-born Jo, who has appeared in numerous Commonwealth Games, World and European Championships has spent 20 years dedicated to the sport and is 19-times British Champion.


Lifting at either 48kg or 53kg, Jo has blazed the trail for female British weightlifters converting from diving and tennis and, alongside her competitive weightlifting career, is also currently a board member and coach for the Crystal Palace Weightlifting Club and the Regional Aquatic Development Manager for Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).


Speaking about the announcement Jo Calvino said:

“As you start to get older as an athlete you know that, potentially, your lifeline is going to come to an end at some point so you look at what you are going to do to fill that time or what you are going to do to give back to the sport.


“Coaching is the obvious one but you start to think what else can I do? I don’t feel like I have to give back but I feel that I’ve got knowledge and tools that can make an impact or difference to someone.


“A lot of my teammates and coaches have said to me that I would be great with engaging the next generation of young people into the sport and the wider picture of using sport as an engagement tool to work with those who aren’t sure in which way they are going in life.


“I’ve had people who believed in me and it might be just one thing you say to a young person that is one idea, but you plant the seed of thought – sometimes someone’s not given them that opportunity or that belief.


“John Hadley, Crystal Palace Weightlifting Club President, explained to me about his work as a trustee with Active Communities Network and told me that I’ve got a skill set which means I can give back and that I should find someone or somewhere I could put it into.


“It’s been something we’ve talked about a lot but it’s never really gone anywhere. This year though we talked a lot more so I did some research.


“Active Communities Network ticks boxes in the areas where I want to give back; education, working in diverse communities and culture groups and promoting my sport.


“As a female, weightlifting breaks down those stereotypical views of what weightlifters should look like. I go against the traditional grain; I’m tiny, I’m girly and I don’t look ‘butch’.

“Weightlifting is not an expensive sport and it can work in the environments of some of the young people Active Communities Network are looking to engage - I’ve done work with pupil referral units before and it’s been a really popular sport with them. I like the challenge of working with those young people who feel like everything is against them.


“I can’t wait to get started. I’m already thinking about bringing in aquatics, weightlifting, education - giving the young people all of the tools and other attributes they will need to feel good about themselves.”


Gary Stannett MBE, CEO Active Communities Network said:

“To have an athlete and individual as well respected as Jo sign up to become one of our trustees is fantastic news for everyone at, and connected with, Active Communities Network.


“Trustees are an integral and important part of any charity and Jo’s skills and expertise in her field will complement those of her fellow trustees and help drive us a charity and inspire not only myself and those fellow trustees but our staff, coaches and young people.


“The length and success of her elite sporting career speaks volumes about her not only as a sportswoman but as an individual too and we welcome her with open arms.”


For more information about Active Communities Network or to get involved call 020 7407 8177, Tweet @ActiveCN or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


British Weight Lifting and Team England athlete Ben Watson is celebrating after winning bronze on Wednesday night in the men’s 105kg category.

Watson led the competition after the snatch lift having achieved 157kg, before lifting 180kg in the clean and jerk and finishing in third with a total of 337kg.

New Zealand's Stanislav Chalaev clinched silver, whilst the Pacific Island of Kiribati won its first Commonwealth Games medal after David Katoatau secured gold.

Talking to Team England’s official website, Watson said: "I'm absolutely ecstatic, I can't stop smiling – it's the best feeling. After the snatches when I came out with a 157kg I thought I had given myself a chance, but I knew there were other guys who were stronger clean and jerkers.

"It's brilliant. I'm just so happy with it. I'm the happiest person here I think. Realistically for me, the next Commonwealth Games is my aim and hopefully I can go one or two medals better."

British Weight Lifting CEO Ashley Metcalfe added “Congratulations to Ben on a fantastic performance; we’re all really pleased for him and he’s worked so hard to get to Glasgow, recovering from an elbow injury which forced him to pull out of the British Senior Championships earlier on this year. The men’s 105kg category was very competitive so for Ben to perform and medal as he did is a great achievement.”

A full round up of the Commonwealth Games and the performances from British Weight Lifting’s athletes will be released next week.


A huge congratulations to British Weight Lifting and England star Zoe Smith who won the Commonwealth Games 58kg title on Saturday in Glasgow.

Smith, who was aiming to build on her success in Delhi 2010 where she won bronze, lifted 92kg in the snatch before achieving 118kg in the clean and jerk and setting a new Games record of 210kg total.

Smith’s victory in Glasgow follows on from a successful year to date, which has already seen her return to the international stage for the first time since competing at London 2012 to claim bronze and become the first British woman since 2003 to win an overall medal at the Senior European Weightlifting Championships. Smith also won gold at the British Senior Championships in May.

“Everyone at British Weight Lifting is delighted for Zoe; her hard work and determination has clearly paid off and we are very proud of her and of what she has achieved,” said Ashley Metcalfe, CEO of British Weight Lifting.

Congratulations also goes to Wales’ Michaela Breeze, who came out of retirement to compete in Glasgow and won bronze in the same category.

Click here to watch Zoe’s final lift – and impressive back flip celebration!

A full round up of the Commonwealth Games and the performances from British Weight Lifting’s athletes will be released next week.

New British Weight Lifting coaching courses available

As weightlifting becomes a core element in an increasing number of both men and women’s training and fitness regimes, British Weight Lifting have a number of courses available for fitness professionals and weightlifting enthusiasts to enable them to coach weightlifting at an entry level. The new courses have been redeveloped and fully accredited and are available to book now, with the first courses starting at the end of August. These are the only courses that are BWL accredited and run by BWL accredited tutors.

The 1st4sport Level 1 Award in Coaching Weightlifting (QCF) is suitable for those who are new to coaching, but who have some knowledge of the sport and would like to learn how to apply that in a coaching environment. By learning to teach the basic techniques of Olympic lifting you will be contributing to the development of weightlifting as well as showing people how to lift and avoid injury as well as showing people how to lift to their maximum benefits in a safe and injury free environment.

The initiative is part of British Weight Lifting’s wider objective to increase the number of athletes developing through its Performance Pathway, the NGB’s programme focused on delivering the sport’s leading athletes for both weightlifting and para powerlifting.

Once completed, the successful candidate would be able to introduce the basic moves of the snatch and clean & jerk to those under tuition, as well as coaching small groups and showing them how to develop strength, improve overall fitness and avoid injury.

The only requirements for candidates to be able to undertake the course are:

  • Be at least 18 years of age on the first day of the course
  • Have at least some experience of the lifts (snatch / clean and jerk) and weightlifting.
  • Be able to communicate in English

The courses are delivered by an accredited British Weight Lifting tutor, offering an opportunity for those with little or no experience of coaching to be introduced to the principles of planning, delivering and evaluating coaching activities in weightlifting.

There are a number of qualification courses coming up in locations across the UK, the details of which can be found by clicking here.

More information on the structure and delivery of the Level 1 coaching courses can be seen by clicking here.

Places on the coaching courses are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

British Weight Lifting launches new participation initiative for para powerlifting in London

The scheme will run in partnership with London Sport and aims to develop and encourage new athletes to the sport in the London boroughs

British Weight Lifting, the national governing body (NGB) responsible for Olympic Weightlifting and Paralympic powerlifting, has today announced its plans for a new scheme aimed at increasing the number of para powerlifting athletes competing in the UK.

The campaign, which will start in September, will first be rolled out across London in partnership with London Sport, targeting key areas with higher populations of disability.

The initiative is part of British Weight Lifting’s wider objective to increase the number of athletes developing through its Performance Pathway, the NGB’s programme focused on delivering the sport’s leading athletes for both weightlifting and para powerlifting.

Athletes who meet the specification (outlined below) will be invited to join the first Para Powerlifting Participation Day taking place in London on Saturday 20th September. Attendees to the day will be given a detailed introduction to the sport, the chance to train under the guidance and supervision of British Weight Lifting coaches and receive a training programme and information on coaching clinics in the local area.

The Participation Day will also be attended by Paralympian, World Champion and current World Record Holder Ali Jawad, British Weight Lifting’s most successful para powerlifter.

Para Powerlifting Participation Day

Athlete specification

To attend the Para Powerlifting Participation Day you must be aged 14 years old or over, have a keen interest or regularly participate in physical activity, particularly sports that require strength and power.

Physical impairments that qualify athletes to compete in para powerlifting include but are not limited to; cerebral palsy, strokes or trauma, spinal injuries, polio, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida amputation(s), congenital deficiency, nerve damage and short stature.

Key information

Date:                     Saturday 20th September

Start time:           10:00

Venue:                 Oaklands School, Old Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6PR

Following the Para Powerlifting Participation Day, successful athletes will be invited to attend weekly coaching clinics across various locations in London run by Regional Development Officer Rich Kite, alongside British Weight lifting performance coach Ben Richens.

The ultimate opportunity will be then for the athletes to compete at the Para Powerlifting UK Open on Saturday 6th December.

Commenting on the initiative, Dan Wagner, British Weight Lifting’s talent pathway manager, said: “Para powerlifting is growing in popularity and our aim is to raise its awareness further, increase participation from men and women across the UK and ultimately, find Britain’s next generation of para powerlifting stars. We are targeting London initially and then we will run the scheme in other cities across the UK going into 2015.

“The Participation Day will not only give attendees the chance to try something new under the expert guidance of British Weight Lifting coaches, it will also encourage physical activity and gives us the opportunity to engage with talented individuals who may be suitable for our Performance Pathway.”

To register to attend the Para Powerlifting Participation Day please follow this link -

For more information email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit

British Weight Lifting receives 1st4sport Recognised Centre status

We are excited to announce that 1st4sport Qualifications has awarded British Weight Lifting with Recognised Centre status and has fully endorsed our Level 1 Award in Coaching Weightlifting.

1st4sport is an awarding body recognised and regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations, responsible for developing qualifications that are delivered against a strict benchmark to ensure learners are provided with quality assurance.

This means that our Level 1 Award in Coaching Weightlifting has met the standards outlined by 1st4sport and therefore anyone who enrols on the course will receive a nationwide-recognised qualification upon completion.

Our upcoming course schedule will be announced on our website soon but if you would like any more information, please contact the team at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or on 0113 224 9402.

British Weight Lifting is the latest in a number of national governing bodies to work with 1st4sport to develop industry-recognised qualifications; these include the Football Association, British Cycling, Rugby Football Union and the Lawn Tennis Association.

Click here for more information about 1st4sport Qualifications.

National Paralympic Day set to make a splash as it returns for 2014


For the first time since the London 2012 Paralympic Games, international swimmers will once again compete in the iconic London Aquatics Centre. Tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow (Friday) for this major sporting event, being held as part of National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival, which returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Saturday August 30.


Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, a day of celebrations is taking place across the country, including a free family festival in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, showcasing the very best in disability sports and arts from 12pm-6pm.  Exactly two years to the day since Great Britain won its first medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, sporting superstars, including 10 ParalympicsGB medallists from London 2012, will return to the water at the London Aquatics Centre for two thrilling sessions of racing.


Also set to excite spectators will be the stars of Boccia, Goalball and Wheelchair Basketball. Top athletes from these three Paralympic sports will be in action at the Copper Box Arena, the venue of last year’s event which saw 6,000 supporters cheer on the very best British and international athletes. Tickets for these events and for the swimming sessions go on sale today at and will cost just £5 per person. Tickets go on sale from 9am this Friday, 4 July.


Plenty of free, family friendly activities and entertainment will also be taking place across the Park, including the chance to try out different disability and inclusive sports such as wheelchair basketball, inclusive cycling, tennis and boccia. Representatives from community groups and disability sports project Motivate East will be on hand to provide advice about opportunities to take up sports or get involved in the local area. There will even be the chance to meet some of the stars of London 2012.


The Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival, the hugely popular annual showcase of Deaf and disabled artists will again be bringing an exciting line-up of street theatre, dance, live music, film, installations and children's activities.


Moxie Brawl, who will be evoking the spirit of the 1940s; Deaf Men Dancing, whose duet 'Nettle Dance', takes its inspiration from artists Gilbert and George; singer Ren Harvieu, acclaimed for her top five album 'Through the Night'; a special digital music making experience from Heart n Soul; and 'The Gift', an immersive sound installation from Jez Colborne and Mind the Gap.


Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: 'With Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park now transformed and fully open, National Paralympic Day will be even better than last year's successful event. Whether you are disabled or not, we're putting on a fantastic line-up of top flight sporting action as well as some brilliant arts and performance. It's going to be one of the best events this summer.'


Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Board Member of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: 'Thousands of families enjoyed a day of disability sport and culture at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2013 and we’re thrilled to be hosting an even bigger and better event this year. Events like this are vital to ensuring that the momentum from the London 2012 Paralympic Games continues to inspire disabled and non-disabled people to take up sport, try arts and make the most of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.'


Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, welcomed the return of National Paralympic Day.


He said: 'I’m delighted that we have been able to build on the fantastic success of last year’s event and include a range of sports on the competition programme at National Paralympic Day 2014.


'The day will have plenty for visitors to enjoy, but it is particularly fantastic to be returning to the London Aquatics Centre to enjoy the swimming and cheer on British athletes, much in the same way that we supported them during those incredible days of London 2012.


'National Paralympic Day is another opportunity for our fans to enjoy fantastic sport and to engage with our amazing athletes and we hope that the public will enjoy the day as much this year as they did in 2013.'


Presented by the Mayor of London, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the British Paralympic Association, National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival is generously supported by the charity, Spirit of 2012 (Spirit) and Arts Council England.


Spirit was established by the Big Lottery Fund last year, with an endowment of £46m from the sale of the Olympic and Paralympic village. It is working to ensure the spirit that radiated from the London 2012 Games can be felt by everyone, everywhere. It is investing in happiness; supporting those providing opportunities in sports, the arts and volunteering.


Debbie Lye, Chief Executive of Spirit said: “The Paralympic movement has changed the way we view disability; it is absolutely key to Spirit’s vision that we boost this momentum. We are thrilled to support National Paralympic Day. It is an event that can capture the public’s imagination, promoting positive and engaging role models for young disabled athletes, and showcasing achievements that challenge limited perceptions of what it means to be disabled.”


Details on ticketing for the sessions of sport in the London Aquatics Centre and the Copper Box Arena can be found, and more information on regional events will be announced soon.

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