Hannah Powell, competing in 48kg class at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, set to be podium contender in Birmingham 2022. Pic: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Welsh Weightlifters Begin Commonwealth Countdown In Virtual World

Welsh weightlifters have started their countdown to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – in a virtual world.

The likes of 2018 champ Gareth Evans, Hannah Powell and Catrin Jones have been starved of competition due to COVID-19 restrictions.

But Weightlifting Wales has joined forces with British Weightlifting to stage a virtual Open competition to give lifters the chance to post a weight.

The Virtual Welsh Open was due to run until November 8 but has now been extended to November 30 due to the last Welsh Government guidelines.

Gareth Evans took gold in the 69kg category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Pic: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

“You have your bodyweight checked, you put in your total and send the video off and the referee can look at it,” said  National Coach Ray Williams.

“It all goes on the BWL website so it gets recognised as a competition.

“For the likes of Hannah it will be her first competition on her journey to Birmingham.

“It will be the first rung of her ladder in the six events that will lead hopefully to a podium in Birmingham.

“She has got a chance as has Catrin and Gareth, if I can get him back to the type of mindset he was in in 2018.

Catrin Jones competing in the 53kg weightlifting final in Australia. Pic: Michael Steele/Getty Images

“It’s really difficult once you win the one and it’s taken 19 years to get there, it’s difficult to dig down and search your soul to go through that training for another two years.”

Totals posted by weightlifters will be eligible for qualification to future national competitions

The results from the Virtual Welsh Open will also be included in the national ranking lists

The top three ranked lifters in Senior, Masters and Youth age groups will also receive medals.

With no weightlifting events looking likely to be staged until next Spring at the earliest lifts registered in a virtual event could be vital.

Gareth Evans celebrates his gold medal in the 69kg class at the Gold Coast. Pic: Michael Steele/Getty Images

“How they are going to make the qualification for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is beyond me,” added Williams.

“Face-to-face sport is probably not going to happen before April next year at the earliest I’m surmising.

“It’s a precarious predicament.

“They haven’t put out any list of qualification events as nobody knows when weightlifting will restart.

“It could go to a virtual qualification which would be a bit crazy. It is a case of weight and see for events.

“Everybody is as keen to get back on the platform as they are keen to get back on the rugby pitch or hit a table tennis ball.

“I’ve never seen a crazier time of life than what we are living through now and I served in the army for 24 years.”

Full details of the Virtual Wales Open, which is also open to non-members, can be found on the Welsh Weightlifting website.

 

 

 

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