British Weight Lifting has confirmed a new long term partnership with the Ricoh Arena which will see the Midlands venue host the British National Championships for the next three years, starting in 2014 with the dates confirmed for May 10-11.
The championships will be a real celebration of the sport, with the men’s and women’s competitions taking place alongside the IPC Powerlifting Championships for the first time ever. This means all of the country’s best lifters in the same place, at the same time, for the first time ever in the history of the sport in the United Kingdom.
The British National Championships are also the final opportunity for athletes from all the home nations to qualify for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. The two day event promises to be one of the most competitive championships for years as Team England look to select a maximum of 15 athletes plus a team of six for the IPC Powerlifting event, with both competitions taking place simultaneously in Glasgow.
After some incredible duels at the recent English Championships and with spaces tight for Glasgow, the opportunity for competitors to battle again will ensure an exciting two days of top quality weightlifting competition.
With places for the World Seniors and the Commonwealth Games on offer, the British National Championships will give more lifters the chance to impress the selectors, with the team due to be announced the following week at the BodyPower event at the NEC on May 16.
Commenting on the quality of the competition Ashley Metcalfe, British Weight Lifting CEO said,
“British Weight Lifting is in a good place at the moment. Our female squads are stronger than ever before, whilst recent competitions have shown so many of our leading lifters to be in great form.
“It really will be a great two days and a real showcase for our sport. There will be some great lifting to look forward to and I cannot wait to see a number of re-matches following close personal battles at the recent English Championships.
“Amongst the females, the 63kg class will be as competitive as ever with Crystal Palace’s Emily Godley going head to head against fellow International Sarah Davies. The male categories will be equally entertaining. Shaun Clegg comes up against Adam Mattiussi, who he beat by just 4kg in the recent English Championships, plus there will be the mouth-watering repeat contest between English winner Owen Boxall and Bristol-based Sonny Webster.”
The Championships will also see a number of the UK’s favourite lifters compete, including 19 year old Olympian Zoe Smith, who is back to her best after recovering from a lengthy injury, 15 year old European Youth Champion Rebekah Tiler, who continues to impress every time she lifts, 23 year old
Olympian Jack Oliver and Leeds-based World number one IPC Powerlifter Ali Jawad, who recently smashed the world record with a lift almost three times his body weight.
As part of the agreement between BWL and the Ricoh Arena, the facilities used this year will provide a maximum capacity of 1,000 spectators over the weekend, the largest venue ever used by British Weight Lifting. The event will also be ticketed for the first time, with tickets to go on sale approximately six weeks in advance of the event’s start date.
On confirming the dates and venue agreement, Ashley Metcalfe said, “The interest in this year’s event will be massive and the competition fierce as all our athletes look to book a place on the team for Glasgow. Recognising this demand and moving the National Championships to the Ricoh Arena is a clear indication of our determination to provide the best possible facilities for the athletes and spectators while looking to grow the wider interest in the sport.
“The practice and warm up facilities will be the best we have ever used, the auditorium has a capacity of 500 spectators on each day and the venue has the ability to grow with the sport so in choosing to work with the Ricoh Arena we know we have found a great partner for not just 2014 but for the long term future of British Weight Lifting.”
Liz Cooper, Marketing Director at the Ricoh Arena, said: “The Ricoh Arena will be a fantastic new home for British Weight Lifting and this will be a great opportunity to increase interest in the sport as we look to build a partnership with British Weight Lifting not just for this year but for future years.
“It will also enhance the experience for fans because we have built-up a great deal of specialist knowledge by holding international and national sporting events since we opened in 2005.
“We hope Midlands sporting fans will really get behind the Championships and provide great support to the athletes as they aim to achieve their personal goals.”
Tickets for the British Championships will be priced at just £5 for under 16s and £10 for adults for one day passes and £7.50 and £15 for two day passes. VIP tickets that include two day passes and access to a drinks reception on the Saturday evening, including finger buffet and drinks vouchers are priced at £40 per person and are limited and sold on a first come first served basis.