TEAM MANAGER'S REPORT FOR EUROPEAN EQUIPPED JUNIOR & SUB-JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
At first glance, the Junior Team of three athletes looked a bit thin on expectation, but we all know how circumstance can change all that and being aware of how to take advantage of circumstance can reap rewards.
Scotland's Alice Francis-Freeman, 17 year old (63kg.Sub-Jnr.) one year in the sport and had never tried equipped lifting until 6 weeks out from the Championships. Alice lifted un-equipped at the Juniors in Moulton 25-26thFeb. I was more than impressed by her efforts and asked her if she would like to be part of the team for Spain, it is reasonable to say that Alice agreed due to the fact she was on holiday at the time of the Euro "Classics", which she was also invited to by Lawrence (classic team manager).
I spoke to Alice about trying "equipped" and that I would find suitable kit for her and send it to her, which I did and at this point I must put on record my thanks to Glasgow's Jim Mutrie who met up with in Edinburgh and Glasgow with Alice on 4-5 occasions and worked miracles in the short time we had. Credit also to Alice who competed like an old stager, ice cool and focused under the watchful eye of Charlie Shotton-Gale her squats went perfectly from 125kg.-132.5kg, finishing on a healthy 140kg, which came with a bronze medal!
Her benchpress opener on 70kg looked easy; a failure on 77.5kg looked perhaps like a step too far, but the determination and grit came to the fore and the 77.5kg 3rd came up nicely, placing her in another bronze medal position.
In the deadlift, Alice started at 135kg -out to 142.5kg.finishing on 147.7kg. All of Alice's 8 "goodlifts" were of course personal bests! Her total of 365kg is 40 kg more than she achieved at the British Championships. Her Medal haul of 4 Bronze, a very talented and grounded young lady steered perfectly by Charlie Shotton-Gale, on an international platform for the very first time, with her mother in the audience, did not disappoint. Whatever Alice chooses, equipped/unequipped, she will excel and be a valuable member of anyone's team.
Our second young lady, Horncastle's Biancha-Jade Pennington,(57kg.Junior) also on her International debut, although a few grams over her lifting weight of 57kg.at the British Championships. I didn't see that as a problem with the added factor of candidates being rather thin on the ground. Biancha was keen to go and I was glad to have her and given the circumstance in her group, a silver medal in the deadlift was justification. Biancha hit only one squat, her opener of 130kg. At the British she got all three (135kg/140kg/145kg) perhaps nerves on the big occasion? Her benchpress went 65kg./70kg./80kg.(fail) and deadlift went very well - 135kg./140kg./145kg for a silver medal. All credit to Charlie Shotton-Gale doing all the right things with a constant eye on the board. I believe that this is Bianca's last year as a junior and with application and focus she will go on and do great things in the sport. I wish her well.
Jack Johnson, the only male member of our team. Although he didn't have the best of time at the British Championships, Jack is always liable to pull something out of the hat and he didn't disappoint. After a day in warm up helping prepare and get ready his team mates, Jack took to the platform with his gym mates behind him, David Murray and Dean Bowring, Jack squatted 300kg./315kg./327.5kg all successful, winning the Bronze Medal.
Benchpress followed with opening with a 250kg.press, next lift 260kg.fail, before pressing out his third, a re-try at 260kg, for the silver medal, Deadlift went 292.5kg./312.5kg./and 320kg, the same as his Norwegian opponent Julian Sagoy. Jack won on lower body weight, (19grams the difference) clinching Gold on the deadlift. Jack also totalled 907.5kg, which landed him Silver in the total.
As for my time at the Championships, I was bitterly disappointed not to pass my Cat1 International Referee's practical, where I was deemed to be to "strict".
Never the less, very proud of these three outstanding junior lifters, a huge vote of thanks to all who helped and supported them, it was great to be there with Arun Singh and the "Open Team", to Charlie, Dean, David and Louise Edwards for taking care of the paper work, I intend to re-float my appeal for benchshirts, squat suits etc., through-out British Powerlifting in the hope of attracting young lifters into the Equipped side of the sport.
,,,,,,,,,, Jim McGill.