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First visually impaired weightlifter at a national competition

British Weight Lifting was proud to welcome Karina Jones as the first ever visually impaired lifter at a national tier one competition, the British Open, at Bangor University which was held between 13 and 14 November 2021.

First visually impaired weightlifter at a national competition

Karina is an actor and an aerialist, most recently touring with The Royal Shakespeare Company and also works with a circus company called Extraordinary Bodies, which integrates disabled and non-disabled circus performers.

Karina started lifting to help to get stronger with the ariel hoop and has been working with Welsh weightlifting coach Holly Knowles and as her confidence grew, she entered her first competition, the Virtual Welsh Open, and secured a bronze medal.

Speaking at the British Open Karina said of competing at her first physical competition “I’m registered blind and I’ve got some peripheral sight round the edges. I was nervous about getting on to the platform. The rules are that I can’t touch the bar until my coach Holly is off the platform. As soon as I get onto the platform I can just see the bar and once I’ve touched it I’m ok. My natural instinct is to keep my head down but to keep my chest up I find a light above me and push up. It’s been so inspiring to come and see the amazing women and how much they are lifting. Holly has been an amazing support, helping to do the paperwork to enter, coming to the competition with me, it’s just been a really enjoyable experience and it was fantastic that I was successful in securing a gold medal.

I would encourage anyone to get involved in weightlifting, I find it really empowering. It’s a really good thing to do because as long as you learn the technique and you can master this then you can just keep getting the bar heavier and heavier. It’s so good as you get older for keeping healthy bones strong, so I’d definitely encourage all disabilities to have a go at it. Everyone has been incredibly supportive.

British Weight Liftings CEO Ashley Metcalfe said “We were delighted to welcome Karina to the British Open this weekend. We had to create new rules which allowed her to be escorted onto the platform safely with her coach. Inclusivity is one of our core principles running through the heart of British Weight Lifting’s strategic plan, as we strive to ensure our sport is accessible and attractive to the widest audience. A great performance on the platform by Karina and we look forward to seeing her again at future competitions.”


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