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St George's Day Q&A with Benedict Millson

Today is St George’s day and to celebrate, we are posting athlete question and answers with two of the top English weightlifters.

St George's Day Q&A with Benedict Millson

How did you get into weightlifting?

I got into weightlifting for two reasons. Firstly, as training for my sport at the time (triple jump) as I knew it would help me develop power. Secondly, as a challenge to build muscle in my shoulders as I have suffered with a condition called Erbs Palsy (Brachial Plexus Paralysis) since birth. This is essentially catastrophic nerve damage in my brachial plexus nerve that occurred during childbirth, and I was told I would never lift my arm overhead! I continue to train to inspire children worldwide who are inflicted with this injury.


Congratulations on some amazing lifting at the British Championships 2022! How are you feeling after securing the gold medal?

Thank you! In disbelief to be honest. It is the culmination of many years of hard training and I am proud of myself and my support team.


How do you stay focussed in a competition environment?

I tend to be very relaxed at competitions now (maybe too relaxed) and just listen to my coach and do what he says. In the warm-up room before competitions, I try to just smile and maybe listen to music. The music I listen to will be Motown or Westlife. I do not need to be anymore hyped up!


Do you have a pre-competition ritual?

I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) on Wednesday 13th June 2012. I have a pre-everything ritual! When competitions are close I tend to try and stay as relaxed as possible and try to trick my brain into decreasing the importance of the event in a bid to not panic about it! As always sticking to my routines (e.g. training at the same times, sleeping at the same times) really helps me remain focussed on the stuff I can control.


What keeps you motivated to train?

I just love training! It’s a privilege to be able to train for as long as I do every day, and I love every day I am able to lift weights. If I answer more deeply, I train to keep defying the odds and proving medical professionals wrong and to provide inspiration and awareness to my friends and anyone around the world who look up to me, be it for my Erbs Palsy, or my numerous mental health struggles. I am just trying to improve myself.


What are your current goals?

My current goals are to snatch 150kg and clean and jerk 180kg. I also want to beat Harry Nelms to a 175kg clean and jerk. Pride is on the line.


Who is your biggest weightlifting inspiration?

My best friend and training partner Clare Dane, my coach Mehmed Fikretov and my mentor Khrys Speed. They inspire me every day to push myself and I look up to them more than they know.


Finally, what would your advice be to beginners wanting to get involved in the sport?

Sounds simple but drop the ego and get a coach. Trying to work out the intricacies of this beautiful sport on your own will make the journey a lot harder than it needs to be and you are just limiting yourself. On the British Weight Lifting website, they have a ‘Club Finder’ page where you can find clubs and coaches near you. I did not really have a coach for the first year of my training and it stunted my progress by a good few years in my opinion.


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