Olivia Broome fell in love with powerlifting right away, but never thought she would achieve her dream of a podium at the Commonwealth Games years ahead of schedule.
Chorleys Broome, 21, took silver behind Zoe Newson in a historic England double in the women’s lightweight competition at the NEC in Birmingham.
Broome benched 250 lbs with her third consecutive successful attempt at 100 points, just 2.2 behind friend and rival Newson, who gained 101 kg but is 13 kg lighter.
Broome said: “I’m over the moon. I was in my own zone, laser focused on what I needed to do and what I wanted to achieve. It couldn’t have gone better.
“Today’s numbers are about the same as training, I’ve started to get to those numbers. But the atmosphere and the venue helped me add that extra something.
“The audience was a huge boost. I was able to locate my parents which was great.
“A medal means so much to me. When I started this sport I never thought that I would be here now. I thought it would be years before I could call myself a Commonwealth silver medalist.”
Nigeria’s stranglehold on the sport, they are the only nation to have won gold since their inception in Manchester in 2002, was bizarrely broken after their two athletes, including reigning Paralympics and Commonwealth champion Latifat Tijani, were disqualified because They were 25 minutes late for the pre-competition kit check.
That gave Newson an opportunity to upgrade her bronze from the Gold Coast and Broome to get on the podium in the sport, which she only picked up in 2017.
Broome, who studies sports science at Loughborough University, added: “I didn’t want to be distracted by Nigeria’s disqualification. I don’t want to get too excited about things, when I start thinking big it often puts my performance at a disadvantage.
“I got into the sport through my older sister who did a bit of work with UK Sport and Talent ID.
“They signed me up and dropped me off for powerlifting. I went to Loughborough for the trial day and it was love at first sight. Five years later we are here.”
Broome insisted she wasn’t disappointed to finish behind her teammate and is now determined to make up the Paralympics squad for Paris 2024.
She explained: “Our plan is that if we are guaranteed a medal, we will defend what we have. I’d much rather do that and take something than miss a medal if my last lift doesn’t go through.
“I will celebrate with the team and my family and Paris is the next destination.”
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