British Weight Lifting

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Club in Focus – London South Bank University

AFTER finding that there was no weightlifting club in his local area, Donald Buchanan took matters into his own hands and set one up.  In the latest of our Club in Focus features, Donald tells us the story of how London South Bank University Weightlifting Club was formed.


I got interested in weightlifting while participating in London South Bank University’s Academy of Sports elite sports strength and conditioning sessions during the academic year of 2009.


After taking part in them for a year, I decided I wanted to take weightlifting up as a sport, so I looked into where the local clubs where in the area. There were no clubs at all around the immediate area - the closest were Crystal Palace and Bethnal Green.


During the summer of 2010, I was chosen to assist Bacons College and Lambeth School Sports Programme in taking thirty 16-18 year old Young Ambassadors to Singapore and volunteer at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games. During this amazing adventure, I was set the task of continuing the legacy from the Singapore Youth Olympic Games (SYOG).


I decided my legacy to the SYOG would be to start a weightlifting club at LSBU. Starting the club was relatively easy with backing from the student union (SU) and the existing participants of the S&C sessions. The club was promoted heavily at the Fresher’s Fair to gauge interest. Participant numbers were high and remained so throughout the academic year.


Over the winter holidays we recruited our current coach Maria Papazoglou, an Olympian and Greek National Champion. Under Coach Papazoglou’s tutelage, the level and intensity of training increased and the club became more serious.


LSBU’s Yvaana Reid won the London South East Open in December 2011 in the +75kg category, and her technique was especially praised. It was the first showcase of our club in public, and was a resounding success and had made a lasting impression.


The club continued to develop and got involved in the Gold Challenge scheme, and several participants in the scheme completed their session with us.


However, an issue arose regarding participants: LSBU’s Student Union are only supportive of clubs that have an attendance of 20 people per session. In relation to weightlifting, five per session is an adequate and satisfactory number; but also we didn’t have enough equipment to support 20 more members.


The Student Union indicated that they would withdraw their support, so it was up to me to tender for funding to secure the club’s future.


I had heard about Sport England’s small grant funding as our American Football Club at LSBU had been awarded funding a year or so before, so I decided to apply for this same funding.


In April 2012 Sport England awarded London South Bank University Weightlifting Club £10,000 for the continued development and sustainability of the club.  This gave us the means to make the club fully operational again. Without the backing of the SU, I approached LSBU’s Academy of Sport, and it was decided that the Sports Centre would host the LSBU Weightlifting Club. The club resides happily within the Sports Centre, and we look forward to great longevity and success under the direction of the Academy of Sport.


This club was started as part of the SYOG legacy and will continue Singapore’s legacy, along with that of the London 2012 Olympic Games. LSBU’s weightlifting club has proven that it is a genuine successful endeavour, and we hope to grow and become part of the community to find, nurture and inspire future Olympians!


LSBU Weightlifting Club is not just for its students. It is for everyone: staff and members of the community are also welcome. We cater to all levels and welcome beginners!