The UK governing body for weightlifting has said it is “incredibly proud” after two Paralympic athletes won bronze in the event.
Guy Taylor, senior board member for British Weight Lifting, said Olivia Broome and Micky Yule’s medals in powerlifting are “brilliant”, and encouraged others with disabilities to get involved in the sport.
“I want to say how incredibly proud we are of the athletes and how they performed, every single one of them has just been brilliant,” Mr Taylor, who is also the national director for the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), told the PA news agency.
It's a brilliant BRONZE for Broome🥉in the 50kg Powerlifting event @Tokyo2020. Congratulations to former TASS athlete @oliviaf_broome who lifted 107kg to medal at her debut Paralympics #ImpossibleToIgnore @GBWeightLifting @TeamSportsAid
— TASS (@TalentedAthlete) August 27, 2021
Mr Taylor said the weightlifting team this year includes experienced athletes, such as Mr Yule, as well as those relatively new to the sport.
“He (Mr Yule) was an engineer with the Airborne Brigade, and he actually did powerlifting in the British Army before he was injured,” Mr Taylor told PA.
“He lost his legs in Afghanistan, then he threw himself into the sport and he used that as part of his rehabilitation.
“I’m over the moon (about his medal), because it’s not easy. There’s been setbacks along the way, he had coronavirus just before – he always had hurdles thrown in front of him, but he always overcame them.
“Working my day job with TASS, athletes have been through our programme that have won hundreds of Olympic and Paralympic medals, but this one’s probably one of the ones that affected me most, knowing where he’s come from and what he’s had to go through, it’s just brilliant.”
Mr Taylor told PA that British Weight Lifting’s programme has seen new faces in the sport, including Ms Broome, 20, whose first Paralympics was the Tokyo games.
He said: “The para programme, within British Weight Lifting, has been going for a number of years, ever since London 2012 where Zoe (Newson) won her medal. It’s been well supported by the National Lottery.
“We’ve been slowly building the programme, identifying new talent, people coming through, bringing in new talent, which was Olivia winning her first medal.
“They (the National Lottery) help to provide money that puts the infrastructure in place.
“Micky’s a prime example. We were able, with the lottery money, to go out to the last qualifying event before Tokyo, which was in Dubai, only a couple of months ago.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do that without the support and the resources behind the National Lottery.”
Mr Taylor told PA he hopes the Paralympic Games inspire people with disabilities to try out different sports in the hope of “finding something that they love”.
He said: “There are so many different sports and opportunities out there within the para movement, that they will find something that they love.
“The first one they try they might not like, but keep trying because the opportunities are growing – there are so many people out there that will help you engage in the sport and find something you really like.
“Olivia was part of a talent ID day, she just wanted to come along and try it, I think in 2016, she came along for the first time, and in six years time she’s got a Paralympic medal.
“The opportunities are there, I would just encourage people to come knocking on the doors.”
For more information on signing up to para sports and activities, visit www.parasport.org.uk