Newson adjusts to new weight class

British powerlifter Zoe Newson battles with nerves as she competes for the first time since winning bronze at London 2012. 15 Jan 2013
Zoe Newson

Zoe Newson won bronze in the women's -40kg powerlifting competition at London 2012.

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“This will be my first competition since the Games, so I’m quite nervous.”

Zoe Newson is quite nervous for her first powerlifting competition on Saturday (19 January) since winning bronze at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The 20-year-old’s Paralympic bronze came in the -40kg category with a lift of 88kg, but since the Games she has moved up to the -45kg category, making for a different group of opponents when she competes in the 2013 IPC Powerlifting UK Bench Championships at the weekend in Kent.

The competition will be the first to include new weight categories, which took effect on 1 January, changing the structure of weight classes. This follows an extensive review of all bodyweight category trends across major competitions.

The decision was made at the 2010 Sport Forum to alter the IPC Powerlifting Rules and Regulations after the London 2012 Paralympic Games. In November 2012, it was endorsed by NPCs and is subject to IPC Governing Board approval later in January 2013.

As Newson no longer qualifies for the new -41kg weight class, she has moved up to the -45kg group.

Since the Games, where she was the youngest member of Great Britain’s powerlifting team, Newson took two weeks off training and now only gets to the gym three times per week compared to the six-day training schedule she had prior to the Paralympics.

She’s had a booked schedule, running from awards shows to media sessions in addition to volunteering at a children’s nursery, and she said people’s faces light up now as soon as she walks into a room.

“I’ve become a celebrity almost now,” Newson said. “It’s been quite nice.

“People are recognising me. Some people, I haven’t a clue who they are, but they’re always having a chat with me now.”

Newson will have a quieter year in 2013 than last, only competing in the UK Bench Championships this weekend, the British Disability Bench Press Championships in Stoke Mandeville on 6 June and the British Championships and the World Dwarf Games from 3-10 August in East Lansing (Michigan), USA.

She hopes to compete again on the world’s stage at the Rio 2016 Games, and the first step in her next four-year quest begins on Saturday.

“This will be my first competition since the Games, so I’m quite nervous,” Newson said. “I did quite well at the Paralympics, so I think now people will put a lot more pressure on me.”

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