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Elite sport training behind closed doors during National Lockdown

BWL recognises that the most recent government lockdown in England continues to present difficulties for athletes, coaches and clubs. BWL continues to work hard with its key partners to campaign for the creation of a ‘Sport Recovery Fund’ to help save and re-open community sports clubs and leisure facilities across the country which play such a critical role in the health & well-being of the British public and the fight against the negative effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Elite sport training behind closed doors during National Lockdown

Since the announcement of the most recent national lockdown in England BWL has received a number of queries from athletes, coaches, clubs and universities requesting that they be categorised elite. Weightlifting and Para Powerlifting are Olympic and Paralympic sports and it is BWL’s responsibility as the NGB to nominate athletes to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo in 2021 and to nominate the team for England at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. It is also therefore BWLs responsibility as the ‘relevant sporting body’ to confirm which athletes are categorised as ‘elite’ for Great Britain and England using HM Government guidance on ‘Elite sport return to training guidance: stage one’ which can be found here

HM Government defines that an ‘elite athlete’ is:

  • an individual who derives a living from competing in a sport
  • a senior representative nominated by a relevant sporting body
  • a member of the senior training squad for a relevant sporting body, or
  • aged 16 or above and on an elite development pathway.

HM Government defines a “senior representative” as a person who has potential to qualify to compete on behalf of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo 2021 OR at the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham in those sports which are not part of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games programme. Weightlifting is an Olympic sport and Para-Powerlifting is a Paralympic sport therefore BWL is not able to nominate athletes with potential to compete at Birmingham 2022 as ‘elite’ at this time.

HM Government defines the “elite development pathway” as the NGB’s development pathway established to prepare athletes to compete at the Olympic or Paralympic Games (specifically Paris 2024 & Los Angeles 2028) .

The guidance is also specific that whilst some athletes may normally use public venues to train, under the current rules outlined by HM Government only official elite training venues can be used. BWL’s official ‘elite training venue’ is Loughborough University Powerbase Gym. BWL has also recently approved Nottingham University High Performance Zone as a temporary elite training venue for Weightlifting to enable 2 athlete’s preparing for Tokyo 2020 to continue their rehabilitation and preparation without interruption. BWL cannot approve every potential elite training venue that named athletes could access due to the responsibility the NGB has as ‘the relevant sporting body’ to enforce risk assessments and mitigation strategy.

BWL has outlined the following guidance to help athletes, coaches and stakeholders understand who can be approved as an ‘elite athlete’ and who can take advantage of ‘Stage one’ exemption considering the NGB’s capacity and responsibility to ensure the safety of athletes and staff during the current pandemic.

BWL considers the following athletes to meet HM Government criteria for ‘Senior Representative’.

  • Weightlifting - Zoe Smith, Sarah Davies, Emily Musket, Emily Campbell
  • Para-Powerlifting – Zoe Newson, Louise Sugden, Olivia Broome, Ali Jawad, Micky Yule,

This group of athlete’s have access to BWL organised sessions at BWL approved elite training venues.

BWL Considers the following athletes to meet HM Government criteria for being on a pathway to compete at the Paris 2024 Games and demonstrated a trajectory that they are on-track to do so;

  • Weightlifting - Fraer Morrow, Catrin Jones, Jess Gordon-Brown, Jonathan Chin, Michael Farmer, Chris Murray
  • Para-Powerlifting – Charlotte McGuiness, Rebecca Bedford, Tom Smith, Mark Swan, Sean Clare, Liam McGarry, Kim Dean

This group of athlete’s can request access to BWL organised sessions at a BWL approved elite training venue, however BWL reserves the right to approve access for individuals from this group on a needs basis considering staff and facility capacity. Athlete’s from this group are encouraged to train at home where possible. BWL encourage athletes to contact the relevant individual (below) if they are unable to train safely in-line with government guidance.

BWL considers the following athletes to meet HM Government criteria for being on a pathway to compete at the LA 2028 Games and demonstrated a trajectory that they are on-track to do so;

  • Weightlifting – Athletes between 16-20 years of age who have lifted >100% of the BWL - Olympic pathway ranking found here
  • Para-Powerlifting – Not applicable

This group of athlete’s can access BWL organised sessions at a defined elite training venue only in extenuating circumstances (e.g. to continue training for a milestone competition or event that BWL defines as essential). BWL reserves the right to approve access for individuals from this group on a needs basis considering staff and facility capacity. Athlete’s from this group are encouraged to train at home where possible. BWL encourage athletes to contact the relevant individual (below) if they are unable to train safely in-line with government guidance.

Since the announcement of a second lockdown BWL has also made a significant effort to equip Potential Tokyo 2021 athletes and known potential medallists for Birmingham 2022 with the necessary equipment for them to be able to continue to train safely at home. BWL has also taken steps to equip athletes competing in the IWF Online Youth World Cup with the necessary equipment required to compete in this competition from home.

For queries around Weightlifting please contact stuart.martin@britishweightlifting.org

For queries around Para-Powerlifting please contact tom.whitaker@britishweightlifting.org

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