Women's Powerlifting: University of Birmingham Women to fund their way to the World University Powerlifting Championships

Beth Stirling

From July the 21st until July 27th, a team of eight University of Birmingham women will be flying out to Estonia to compete in the World University Powerlifting Championships.

The University of Birmingham Women's Powerlifting team gained their entry to the prestigious competition having placed second in the country at BUCS competition (British University and Colleges Sport), which meant they earned their place to represent Great Britain at the World University Championships.

However, as the team consists of students, and powerlifting is a self-funded sport, their opportunity is heavily dependent on the athletes being able to fund the trip themselves. They have now started a Gofundme page to help to pay for this once in a lifetime opportunity which would enable the whole team to travel and compete. 

Beth Stirling, a law graduate from the University of Birmingham began powerlifting at the beginning of her university degree three years ago.

She explained how ‘powerlifting aims to maximise their 1 rep max (the maximum weight you can lift) for 3 separate lifts – the squat, bench and deadlift. You have to try and get as many IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) points as you can, which is calculated by considering both your weight and the total amount you lift over all three lifts. The aim is to lift as much as you can!'

While powerlifting is not yet an Olympic sport, it is growing hugely in popularity as a result of more people realising the benefits of regular weight training. 

When asked about powerlifting and why it was important, she said, ‘I love the discipline it gives me and the chance to meet amazing people. It is also incredibly testing, having to train most days and be strict(ish) with your diet knowing a competition is so far in the future… but it is always worth it!'

The girls' qualification into the world championships is all the more impressive when you consider that at the same BUCS championships only one year ago, the team finished in 9th place. Having jumped 7 places in only one year, Beth explained why she thought there was such an improvement in the women's lifts.

‘I genuinely think it is due to the increasing number of girls who want to power lift. The talent in powerlifting this year has been insane. The UOB girls also train very hard and take their lifting seriously. We have all invested in amazing coaches, to name a few – Emily Norley, Luke Rogers, Joe Blacker, who have all helped us progress as lifters.'  

Invictus Games Sydney 2018 - Day 5

Beth seemed positive and enthusiastic about how training had been going for the competition.

‘Training has been going well! It has been a short prep after our last competition which was the University championships where we qualified, which has made the training intensity very difficult. Training around exams and graduating for a lot of us has also been challenging, but has given us something to keep our mind of the daunting reality of becoming an adult! I feel so so excited and slightly nervous about it. But more excited – it'll be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I genuinely want to make the most out of every second!'

For those who are inspired by these incredible athletes and who wish to get involved in powerlifting, Beth recommends for people who are at university to join their university powerlifting society. ‘And if there isn't one - make one!' Beth explains. 

Beth Sterling

‘My partner was the founder of the society and it's something he's proud of today, especially seeing how well it's doing.' If you're not at uni, reach out to a local gym and ask whether they have facilities suitable for powerlifting. Also, the best thing to do would be to follow GBPowerlifting on Instagram, follow as many people you can who lift and look to see if any of them are in your area. Almost every powerlifter I know is super friendly and if you message them they will most definitely point you in the right direction, even if it's helping you in the gym or directing you to a coach who will get you up and running!'

For those of you who would like to support these exceptional athletes on their journey to Estonia, you can view their Gofundme page.

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