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St David’s Day: Hannah Powell Q&A

Today is St David’s Day and to celebrate we spoke to Welsh Weightlifter Hannah Powell who won Silver at the 2019 Commonwealth Championships in Samoa. Below she shares her thoughts on training through lockdown and the prospect of competing at Birmingham 2022.

St David’s Day:  Hannah Powell Q&A

How is your training going at the moment with the current lockdown restrictions?  

I am in the very fortunate position to have been granted dispensation from Sport Wales to continue to train in my club through the lockdown. I am now working from home, so I fit training in around work. I have actually found that the lockdown has not been a terrible training environment for me; there are less distractions, I have more control of my day-to-day schedule and I have actually found it easier to manage my time with working, training and recovery!

With all the uncertainty in the world, how are you managing to stay focussed and motivated? 

At the moment, I am motivated by my potential performance at the Commonwealth Games in 2022. I am fully focussed on preparing myself physically and mentally for that event. In terms of what the qualification process will look like; it is very uncertain at the moment; we do not know which events will actually go ahead, or in what format. There is nothing I can do about that! In the meantime, I am switching my focus to my daily and weekly goals, as they are controllable! 

What are your thoughts on Birmingham 2022 given your connection to the area?  

Birmingham is my hometown! I grew up in Birmingham, between Rubery and Druids Heath. I started Weightlifting at Baverstock Secondary School and moved onto training at Oldbury Weightlifting club with Sam Hayer, before moving away in 2011. The Commonwealth Games being hosted in Birmingham is very meaningful to me, it is where my Weightlifting journey began and its where my family are.  I have heard there is nothing like a 'Home Games' I have no doubt this will be a very special event for all the Home Nation athletes!

When competitions do resume, how do you plan on building upon on your previous international success in Samoa to hit the ground running again? 

Samoa was a great competition for me, being on an international platform is what I love most about Weightlifting. I believe that training smart and focussing on the goals my coach and I have set will lead to improved performance. There is no 45kg category in the CWG, so moving up to 49kg has been essential. I am excited to lift in this category once competitions resume! 

When it comes to weightlifting who is your biggest inspiration?   

I have been so fortunate to have been surrounded by numerous inspiring British lifters throughout my lifting career! 

My partner, Gareth Evans, is definitely one of those people, especially after watching him prepare for and win the Commonwealth Games in 2018. I can learn a lot from him about his approach to training and competing, and that is a great perspective to have. 

My coach, Ray Williams is another person I feel so lucky to have in my corner, another Commonwealth Champion! I have learnt so much from Ray, especially in terms of attitude, on and off the platform, he is very wise!

Zoe Smith has been one of my closest friends since I was a teenager and watching her achieve the things that she has in Weightlifting is a total source of inspiration, too. 

There are a number of other British lifters / coaches, current and former, who continue to inspire me, more so now than ever as I get older.

And finally, what advice would you give to someone who was new to weightlifting and just starting out?    

First of all, it is important to find a good coach, who understands Weightlifting. You should also try to learn as much as you can about lifting, technique, injury prevention etc. as you can as it is important to have an understanding of what you're doing and why. 

If I could go back in time to talk to my younger self, I would advise her to drop any of the self-imposed 'pressures' and start enjoying the journey more, and to never dwell on failures or let them alter your long-term vision of what you can achieve!



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