AFTER a great 2012 which saw successes in both powerlifting and weightlifting, attentions are turning to the future. British Weight Lifting owe it to the sport to build on the progress that has been made – and BWL staff have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure that happens.
Here, Performance Manager Fiona Lothian updates us all on plans for the next few years heading towards Rio 2016 and beyond.
“Following the successes of the summer where weightlifting and IPC powerlifting were two of the must see sports of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with unprecedented interest, and where the British lifters stepped up and performed to their best, it is now time for BWL to capitalise on this and move forward to qualifying athletes for the Rio 2016 Games.
BWL is also looking to strengthen the sport in all other areas including increasing the participation base, developing club and competition opportunities and being the preferred supplier for courses related to the use of weights.
As a National Governing Body (NGB) we have come a long way in last two years. However there is still much to be done if we are to position ourselves favourably on the UK sporting landscape and deliver against our targets to retain the investment being made in the sport by Sport England and UK Sport, while decreasing our reliance on this exchequer and lottery funding by increasing our commercial revenue through courses and other areas.
Since the games BWL staff have been focused on preparing the submissions for both UK Sport on the Performance side and Sport England on the development side. The plans have now been finalised and BWL have the opportunity to present them to the funders this month.
The outcome of the submissions will not be known until mid-December, after which the plans will be rolled out. Given the progress to date and the quality of the proposals, BWL considered themselves to be in a stronger position than they were going into the last funding cycle.
The performance plan for weightlifting aims to qualify both a women's and men's team for the Rio 2016 Olympics through the 2014 and 2015 World Championships, which is ambitious but achievable given the potential of athletes currently lifting across the UK.
The performance plan for IPC Powerlifting aims to deliver at least two medals and increase the number of athletes on the performance pathway across the full range of weight categories given that there are 20 medal opportunities in the sport.
The Sport England plan focuses on delivering in two key areas: talent and participation.
The participation side includes a focus on developing current and new clubs, providing greater opportunities to access weightlifting and giving a range of competition opportunities. This will involve developing and expanding BWL’s current workforce.
The England Talent Pathway sits below the BWL Performance Programme and provides support for young developing athletes in both weightlifting and IPC powerlifting who have the potential to go on and represent England at the Commonwealth Games and Great Britain at European, World and Olympic and Paralympic level. This talent pathway will be replicated in the other Home Nations through individual home country sports council support.
There is huge potential for weightlifting and related activities during the next funding cycle. The submitted plans and funding are only part of the picture, it will take a huge amount of coordinated effort from everyone involved in the sport to buy into the vision.
We saw it at the Olympics and Paralympics, everyone pulling together to deliver a superb competition; let’s not lose sight of what we can do if we support each other going forward.
BWL will be running a series of Roadshows in the regions early in 2013 to discuss plans and changes going forward and how the regions, clubs and membership can be involved."