Young weightlifters bring national glory back home to Sunderland, thanks to Weights & Cakes

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A weightlifting club has brought more glory to Sunderland by claiming six medals at the British Age Group Championships.

The championships were held at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds. The competition is for younger weightlifters in the UK, from ages 12 up to 23.

The medallists all train at Weights & Cakes, Sunderland’s only affiliated British weightlifting club for children, teenagers and adults and based on The King’s Road in Southwick.

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Zach Taylor, 14, and a St Aidan’s pupil from Pallion, lifted 142kg to claim a gold medal and a British Championship title.

Zach Taylor - British champion.Zach Taylor - British champion.
Zach Taylor - British champion.

St Paul’s Primary student Matthew Lawrance, nine, secured a silver medal in the under-10s. Lily Fiskel-Middleton who attends Christ College and James Newton of Southmoor, both 11, each secured silver medals too.

Ben Peggie, 11, of St Aidan’s and Olivia Butler, 12 of St Anthony’s, also both took silver.

Poppy Wood, 11, a pupil at Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy, just missed out on a podium place, but still performed very well to claim fourth place; no mean feat with a total of around 300 young lifters at the two-day event.

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Lifters aged 12-and-under did not have to achieve a qualifying weight. But Zach Taylor had to raise 141 kilos to get to Leeds. He hit that target at the Nixon Rowell Memorial Competition, held at the Raich Carter Centre in May.

Lily Fiskel-Middleton was a silver medallist.Lily Fiskel-Middleton was a silver medallist.
Lily Fiskel-Middleton was a silver medallist.

Zoe Chandler is coach and founder of Weights & Cakes and is delighted with how all seven of her protégés performed.

She told the Echo: “They’ve been training for it for ages, four times a week. Zach’s been training six times a week and anything else he can get in. He’s very keen.

“We’re incredibly proud of Zach. He’s been attending the club for three years and never misses a training session. He goes above and beyond and his commitment and dedication has paid off with this gold medal.

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Poppy Wood in action in Leeds.Poppy Wood in action in Leeds.
Poppy Wood in action in Leeds.

“All of them did absolutely brilliantly. It’s really scary turning up for a national competition and for some of them it was their first time. Lily Fiskel-Middleton is autistic and struggles with anxiety. She managed to pull a silver medal out of the bag.

“Their hard work has paid off and they should be given great credit.”

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