A wounded ex-serviceman, who is supported by Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery programme, won a Silver medal in the men’s 72kg+ at the Cybex British Weight Lifting & Para-Powerlifting Championships last weekend (Sun 12 June) at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.
Fresh from winning a Silver medal at the Invictus Games in Orlando, Ross Austen lifted 157kg, a whole 27kg more than at last year’s British Championships – showing his progression in the sport.
Former Corporal, Ross Austen (from Barnstaple, Devon) who served with the Royal Engineers, lost his left leg above knee, and sustained nerve damage to his right foot and leg when he was injured by an IED on patrol clearing a compound in Afghanistan in November 2008.
Sport has played a huge part in Ross’ rehabilitation and recovery, as part of Help for Heroes’ extensive Sports Recovery programme.
Jayne Kavanagh, Performance Pathway Manager at Help for Heroes Sports Recovery added: “Congratulations to Ross from all of the team at Help for Heroes, this was a great result for him on his journey in the sport. Fresh from winning Silver at the Invictus Games, Ross should be proud of his performance here lifting 7kg more than in Orlando. We’re looking forward to future competitions and continuing to support him on his journey. Working closely with British Weight Lifting, we are finding more and more military personnel have very strong attributes to take powerlifting forward, we’re very excited for the future – whilst athletes like Ross inspire other wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women that anything is possible post injury.
Help for Heroes are very proud to continue to support Ross, after he was discovered through British Weight Lifting and Help for Heroes’ joint Pathway2Podium initiative, to uncover and introduce military personnel to Para-Powerlifting.
Ross was joined at the competition by the likes of fellow ex-serviceman, Richard Webb who lifted 108kg in the same category to take fifth place.
The support provided to these competitors forms part of the Help for Heroes’ partnership with British Weightlifting and the British Paralympic Association to introduce military personnel to Paralympic Sport.
The Cybex British Weight Lifting & Para-Powerlifting Championships was the biggest domestic competition of the year, where more than 100 lifters battled it out for the coveted title of British Champion in front of the biggest crowd ever recorded at a domestic weightlifting competition.
In order to allow athletes with a range of bodyweights and disabilities to compete fairly, placings were calculated with an adjustment for bodyweight, meaning the heaviest weight lifted was not always the winning result.
Commenting on the weekend’s competition, Ashley Metcalfe, British Weight Lifting CEO, said: “The 2016 Cybex British Weight Lifting & Para-Powerlifting Championships were a fantastic showcase for the sport, with packed-out crowds providing a fantastic atmosphere throughout the weekend.
“We’ve worked hard over the last few years to provide our athletes with the best competitive environment possible and in doing so, we aim to bring our domestic competitions in line with the standards experienced internationally to really get the best out of our lifters; this weekend’s competition was no exception, as the Championships delivered yet more British records and outstanding performances, and notably not just from our elite athletes but our up and coming lifters too which was fantastic to see.
“Spectator numbers rose yet again which is indicative of the growing popularity of the sport and we’ve had fantastic feedback from athletes, coaches and spectators alike; the two days were a fantastic way to lead us into a busy summer of sport as we look forward to cheering on our Olympic and Paralympic representatives in Rio.”
Full results from the Cybex British Weight Lifting & Para-Powerlifting Championships 2016 can be found here.
Help for Heroes has been involved with Sports Recovery since 2008, and in the past year alone have put on around 300 events across 50 different sports enabling over 2,100 wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in adaptive sports from grassroots through to performance level.
To find out more about Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery Programme, visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk/sports-recovery or follow @H4H_SR on Twitter.