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British Weight Lifting would like to announce a number of changes to its flagship annual British Championships following the announcement of the UK Government’s roadmap on Monday 22 February.

Our hope for 2021 has always been to run a physical competition for the British Championships as we appreciate how important a physical event is to our members to give everyone a chance to lift on the platform.

However, when trying to organise this we have been met by several challenges.

Venue Closures

As venues are currently closed, we are finding that many of our contacts are on furlough and so booking venues is incredibly difficult and in some instances, venues are also being used as vaccination centres. For the venues we can get in touch with we are unable to book space without stringent covid measures in place until the government roadmap dates have been confirmed, which means we are restrained by reduced capacity numbers.

We anticipate the first in person event to be extremely successful and whilst this is fantastic news, it presents a challenge if we must allow for social distancing and other protocols we need to follow.

Financial Considerations

Like many businesses we have faced increased financial pressure to remain afloat during the pandemic and as a small National Governing Body we have been hit by a falling number of members. To hold multiple competitions, with reduced numbers and no spectators means that BWL would ultimately have to take a hit financially which would be extremely risky and not make financial sense with the events running at a loss.

We have therefore been faced with a hard decision of running no competition until we have more clarity on dates and venues versus running a competition whilst we work hard in the background to confirm what physical competitions we are able to run for the second half of the year.

What's going to happen?

With all this in mind the British Championships physical event has been scaled back, with the ultimate focus being a performance-based event for those athletes wishing to either qualify or benchmark their total against others for the Commonwealth Games in 2022. With very limited Commonwealth Games qualifying opportunities for Home Nation lifters over the next 12 months, it is important to provide platforms for them to showcase their talents and achieve ranking positions, but this will not mean that other lifters will be excluded. BWL plan to issue invitations to the leading lifters in each weight category to ensure that the competition remains highly competitive and a great opportunity to kick-start 'live and physical' lifting once again. Critically, it will ensure that the British titles will be competed for by the country's best lifters and will remain highly cherished achievements. Although no crowds are currently being permitted by the venue, BWL will also aim to 'live stream' the event to ensure that no supporters, family or friends miss this return to physical competitions. 

Furthermore, to ensure that wider number of lifters from all age groups have an opportunity to compete on a platform this summer, we will also be running a virtual British Championships.

New Competition Calendar to be published soon

The competition team are currently working to secure dates and venues so that we can announce an updated competition calendar with physical competitions for all ages and abilities. As soon as this is in place we will provide an update to all our members. As we aim to re-establish a high quality and spectator friendly competition's calendar, BWL has already committed to hosting a full British Championships in late January 2022, which will also be a final Commonwealth Games qualifier and a major UK Open later in the summer. Both these competitions will be a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate our sports and will, subject to government regulations, welcome back 'live' weightlifting and para-powerlifting to our most loyal supporters. 

British Championships for Elite Athletes

A physical event will be held from 26 - 27 June 2021 at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. This will be held with strict COVID-19 protocols and in line with the venue’s rules and regulations no spectators will be allowed.

More information including eligibility to enter this competition will follow in due course.

Virtual British Championships

Although we are not able to invite lifters to a physical event, we hope that with the proposed opening of gyms on Monday 12 April, this virtual competition will provide a fresh focus to get lifters back in their clubs and training towards a national event.

PLEASE NOTE: We have amended the date of the virtual competition to incorporate the Seniors, Masters, Development, Youth, Junior and Under 23’s into the same virtual competition.

This will now run from Wednesday 30 June – Wednesday 7 July.

More information on this virtual competition will be released in due course.

Para Powerlifting British Championships

Due to a date clash with an International Olympic Games qualifier, a Para Powerlifting British Championships will take place later in the year to give athletes an opportunity of qualify for the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and contribute towards selection for the world championships in December. More details of this event will be released in due course.

We hope these Championships, whether physical or virtual, provide a great opportunity to give people a chance to get on the platform despite government restrictions as a result of Covid-19. BWL is continually striving to find opportunities for everyone to participate in the sport.

 

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