After a thrilling two days of competition, it is Crystal Palace who can claim to be the top weight lifting team in England.
With several high quality performances, the club excelled in the event which saw an impressive 13 individual weightlifters from across England hit the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard.
Nine men and four women hit the crucial target at the two-day Championships, which attracted a record number of entries and more than 300 spectators each day to the Harry Mitchell Leisure Centre in Smethwick, West Midlands.
Leading the way for Crystal Palace were their women with outstanding victories for Jo Calvino in the 53kg class , Emily Godley in 63kg class and 17 year old Mercy Brown in 75+kg class. For Emily is it was even more special as she hit the qualifying standards for both Glasgow 2014 and the World Senior Championships later in the year. Mercy also broke British Senior records in the Clean and Jerk, lifting 116kg which helped her to a new record overall total of 201kg. Other notable performances came from Amber Sheppard and Poi Fakcha in the 58kg group.
Team victory was secured for Palace with a win for Mehmed Fikretov in the men’s 69kg class and a third and fourth place finish in the men’s 77kg class.
Bristol club, Empire Sports were the closest challengers, with a number of fine performance throughout the competition, including Bradley Burrowes well-earned victory in the men’s 85kg class.
Lauren English won the women’s 75kg class and Shaun Clegg picked up an impressive first prize in the men’s 77kg class to secure third place for Team Manchester.
“It has been such a fantastic weekend,” said British Weight Lifting Performance Director Tommy Yule. “Sport England has set us a tough target of four medals at Glasgow, but it’s great to see so many athletes – new and established – perform so well and achieve the qualifying mark early in the season.
And BWL Chief Executive Ashley Metcalfe added: “ I would like to congratulate Crystal Palace on their overall team effort. There were a number of outstanding lifts over the two days but their female team in particular were outstanding. Much credit must go to Keith Morgan and all the coaches based there for supporting their team.
“The sport has progressed so much in recent months and it’s an exciting time to be involved in weightlifting, both at an elite level and at the grassroots. With record entries and a full house of spectators for two days it was a great way to showcase our sport and I would like to applaud the efforts of all the athletes.”
“I would also like to thank on behalf of BWL all the officials and volunteers, who gave up their time to ensure the competition ran smoothly and in a professional manner.”
TEAM RANKINGS - TOP 10
1 Crystal Palace 217
2 Empire Sports Club 196
3 Team Manchester 145
4 Stars for the Future 132
5 Crossfit Manchester 113
6 Bexley Europa 103
7 Bethnal Green 95
8 Sutton and Epsom 87
9 Brunel University 71
10 St Birinus 68
Other outstanding individual performances that achieved Commonwealth qualification included Zoe Smith, the Bristol-based Londoner who returned to action after almost a year out through injury with an impressive total of 206kg.
After a hugely competitive battle with Emily Godley, Sarah Davies also recorded a personal best performances in the 63kg bodyweight class, which qualified her for both the Commonwealth’s and the World Championship.
European Youth Champion Rebekah Tiler, from West Yorkshire, hit the qualifying mark with a total of 194kg in the 69kg bodyweight category.
It was also a tight contest in the men’s 62kg class with Jaswant Shergill eventually beating close rival Christos Michaelas into second with his very last lift. His total of 240kg was sufficient to take the title and also ensured both had achieved the qualifying standards.
Adam Mattiussi, who achieved a PB of 283kg came second in the 77kg category ensuring he surpassed the Games standard, as did Owen Boxall with a 325kg total and PB as he impressively won the 94kg class.
Three further men surpassed the qualifying standards. This included the first two in 105kg class. Ben Watson was in superb form and led the way, hitting three personal bests to total 335kg and ensure he finished ahead of runner up Peter Barnett. Finally, John Hanna won the 105kg+ category and surpassed the Glasgow standard.