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St. Andrew’s day: Jodey Hughes Q&A

In the spirit of St. Andrew's Day, we bring you an exclusive interview with Jodey Hughes, a notable figure in Scottish weightlifting. Jodey, celebrated for her achievements in the 55kg category, including competing in two Commonwealth Games and winning two British silver medals, has recently taken on an important new role as the Athlete Director of Commonwealth Games Scotland. Her appointment to this role is a reflection of her unwavering commitment and notable successes in the sport.

St. Andrew’s day: Jodey Hughes Q&A

Jodey, congratulations on being appointed as Athlete Director of Commonwealth Games Scotland. Can you share what this role entails and your vision for it?

Thank you, I have been given this fantastic opportunity to represent Scottish athletes at board level meaning all of the athletes will have a voice through me.

I want each athlete to feel empowered to approach me and my panel (which will be selected in Q1) to contribute to the decision-making and strategy of the organisation. I am looking for representation across all sports, backgrounds, age etc. I also understand that athlete’s perspectives are unique, and coming from a minority sport, such as weightlifting, having our sport represented at board level is fantastic. My vision and detail will evolve over the coming months as I find my feet in the role. If anyone is interested in finding out more information, please reach out. 

Reflecting on your journey, from a two-time Commonwealth Games athlete to now an Athlete Director, how do you feel your experiences as a competitor will influence your approach in this role?

I am the first female Scottish weightlifter to compete at two Commonwealth Games, and the oldest, is something I am incredibly proud of. Weightlifting gives you all sorts of professional tools and experience that are directly transferrable to professional roles. Performing under pressure, being resilient, being a role model, believing in yourself are all wonderful consequences of being a competitive weightlifter. I attribute a lot of my success to the sport. 

As a successful weightlifter, securing two British Silver medals, what has been your biggest challenge and triumph in your weightlifting career?

My biggest challenge so far is my fear of failure. I suffered massively with imposter syndrome. I regularly compared myself to others that were lifting more or were at the Olympics and felt that I didn’t deserve a place or it all happened by accident. I worked closely with a mental coach (I would recommend Headway Training Academy) to help me overcome a lot of my mental struggles. As I have become more and more confident to talk about the struggles, I’ve started to realise that this is more and more common with athletes (and non athletes) and our mind is incredibly powerful and that is what wins or loses competition. If you can get your head game strong, you can lift anything. I would encourage more people to practice visualisation to help you with your lifting or any big goal you have. 

My biggest triumph was the British Championships where I secured my silver medal and spot for Birmingham 2022. I had missed my first two snatches and only narrowly hit the third. I then missed my first C&J. The situation was incredibly stressful and I was getting further and further away from a qualifying position. My final lift determined whether I would be in last place and potentially my last competitive competition or I would medal and secure my spot at the games. The final clean was really hard but I dug deep and I gave it everything I had and I secured my final lift which was a competition PB. Watching the video back now still gives me goosebumps. 

Today being St. Andrew's Day, how do you feel your Scottish heritage has influenced your career in sports and your approach to leadership?

Representing Scotland as a weightlifter has really defined me and has given me a platform to help inspire other women in strength sports. For such a small country, we certainly have the biggest roar. We were the loudest and proudest country there and it was so incredibly special to be part of all of that.

So I have spent my entire adult life in Scotland moving to East Kilbride from Canada. Scotland has my heart. This is where I fell in love with the people, the culture and it is where I found weightlifting. I feel like the opportunities in Scotland have been endless and amazing. I have felt my unique identity and my background has given me a strong foundation for leadership but I wouldn't have been able to do this without the support of the people in Scotland and my family back home in Canada. St. Andrew’s Day is a particularly special day for us and we will be celebrating with a wee dram and some haggis on my pizza! 

Weightlifting is a demanding sport both physically and mentally. What advice would you give to young athletes aspiring to reach the levels that you have achieved?

Weightlifting is tough. Its going to be hard but so worth it. You do things every single day that you never ever thought you would be able to do. You will inspire people far wider than you can ever imagine and help shape their futures. For me I lacked female role models in strength sports and I was reluctant to start, but times have definitely changed and we’re surrounded my so many amazing strong ladies like Emily, Sarah, Noorin, Zoe, Jess, Fraer. I really wished I had them around when I was younger. They are inspiring the next generation. I would also say to young people that behind all of these wonderful smiles from the athletes is that they have all experienced set-back, failures, the tears, the sacrifice and dedication that sits behind that moment. They have earned that moment. We all have. Weightlifting gave us that. 

Finally, as we celebrate St. Andrew's Day, what message would you like to share with the British Weight Lifting community and your fans?

Scotland is a wonderful part of the country, please reach out to me if you want to have a lifting session up here. I have contacts all across the country whether it’s the highlands, Glasgow, Inverness. You can also follow it up with a recovery dip in one of the beautiful lochs! I hope you all have an opportunity to have some haggis. Happy St. Andrew’s Day.

Photo credit: White Lights Media

 

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