The English Weightlifting Championships are taking place in Milton Keynes this weekend.
The two-day competition, which will be held at Stantonbury Theatre this Saturday and Sunday, has seen a record number of entrants from previous years, with 175 athletes set to battle it out across 20 weight categories.
The event will host a number of England’s top lifters, including Rio 2016 Olympian Rebekah Tiler and Paralympian Natalie Blake, both of whom will be returning to full competition for the first time since last summer’s Games.
The event also holds extra significance for the nation’s leading lifters, following Friday’s announcement that the competition will form part of qualification for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The competition will give lifters the opportunity to secure vital ranking points for next year’s Commonwealth Games; taking place in April, the Commonwealth Games will see 70 nations and territories compete across 18 sports. The last edition of the Games in Glasgow was the most successful for British weightlifters since 2002, with five medals won and three competition records broken.
Commenting on the announcement, Ashley Metcalfe, British Weight Lifting CEO, said: “We are really excited to confirm the inclusion of all Home Nation Senior Championships to the Commonwealth Games qualification process. The decision was made following extensive discussions with the IWF and as always, our lifters remained at the centre of this.
“Whilst we are aware that the high number of entries and the new requirement to adhere to IWF rules and regulations will result in some changes to next weekend’s competition format and schedule, we have done all that we can to mitigate the impact of this on our lifters’ preparations and we remain dedicated to providing our lifters and coaches with the best in terms of the quality of competition and support that we can.
“With a record number of entries for next weekend’s English Championships – and now Commonwealth Games qualification ranking points up for grabs – the interest and excitement around the competition is huge and the two days are guaranteed to be a great start to the 2017 competition calendar.
“I would like to wish all lifters every success for next weekend, and a big thank you to them and their coaches for their efforts and continued support.”