British weightlifters’ Olympic ambitions were given a major boost today when the British Olympic Association (BOA) confirmed they will allow Great Britain’s weightlifters to utilise Host Nation Qualification Places in order to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Up to five athletes, three men and two women, will be able to represent weightlifting as part of Team GB.
To be eligible to automatically take up a host nation place, a weightlifter will have to consistently meet the minimum A standard set by British Weight Lifting.
Said Team GB Chef de Mission and BOA Chief Executive Andy Hunt:
“British weightlifters have come a long way since 2007 when there were no athletes in the top 10 at the European Championships; last year three female and one male athlete finished in the top 10 at the Europeans.
“In terms of participation, British Weight Lifting has played their part in making sure that more people across the nation can engage in the sport: weightlifting now has 77 clubs, with 23 of those added in the last two years.
“We are confident that the sport will do its utmost to capitalise on the opportunity that competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games presents.”
Sir Clive Woodward, Team GB Deputy Chef de Mission and BOA Director of Sport, commented:
“In Beijing, I was privileged to experience weightlifting live and watch Michaela Breeze compete at the Olympics. The atmosphere in the arena was unbelievable. I am really pleased that a deserving few of the British weightlifters will have the opportunity to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games in front of an inspiring home crowd.
“The athletes now have a confirmed goal to train and aim towards and I wish them all the very best in their preparations.”
Scottish 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Peter Kirkbride (currently competing in the 94kg category) said:
“It’s fantastic news for the sport of weightlifting to be recognised in this way. We’ve been around for hundreds of years and it’s going to be great to be at the home games in 2012.
“We’re all training hard to make sure we are the athletes chosen to fill those Olympic places. It’s going to be great whoever goes, but for us as individuals we still have to qualify so the pressure is not off us.”
Welsh athlete Natasha Perdue, who is currently competing in the 69kg category and has competed at the last two Commonwealth Games, added:
“It’s great to hear that British lifters will have the opportunity to go to the Olympics. We’re very much a team, and all of the athletes are dedicated to getting to the Games.
“Obviously I want to go to the Olympics, but all the athletes are good friends and as long as the best athletes go forward to represent Britain that’s what counts. Britain deserves the best, whoever that may be.”
Great Britain Weightlifting Head Coach Tamas Feher said:
“It’s great news to hear that the British Olympic Association has given us their backing and guaranteed host nation places. It’s great to get recognition for the athletes that all their hard work is being noticed.
“I want to thank the BOA for giving us the opportunity to compete at the Olympics in 2012. The athletes train so hard and they will all do their best for Great Britain.”
British Weight Lifting chairman Jonathan Fuller commented:
“We’re very pleased that we’ve been accepted, and look forward to a strong performance in 2012.
“It’s good to hear that the BOA has recognised that we are on the right track. The fact that the BOA has accepted our right to take up host nation places can only be a good thing for the sport and for ensuring that the British weightlifters are the best they can possibly be.”
The Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel is currently working with the National Governing Bodies to finalise and approve the qualification standards and pathway to London 2012 for every sport. In many cases, sports will qualify for the Games through their performance in specific international events. For a select group of sports, however, the qualification process may involve the use of a Host Nation Qualification Place.
As the National Olympic Committee for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the BOA, among its many duties, is responsible for approving the eligibility and entry of all British athletes who compete as members of Team GB at the Olympic Games.
For the London 2012 Olympic Games, the BOA has stipulated that any sport seeking to utilise a Host Nation Qualification Place must first demonstrate the following:
1) The ability to deliver a credible performance during the London 2012 Games.
2) A long-term strategy to deliver a meaningful legacy as a result of the profile and visibility associated with competing in the Games, with a particular emphasis on increasing opportunities for participation by athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers at the grassroots level.
The decision to permit British Weight Lifting, which is the National Governing Body for Weightlifting in Great Britain, to utilise the Host Nation Qualification Places was made by the Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel, which among others includes Hunt; the Chair of the BOA Athletes Commission Sarah Winckless; and the BOA’s Director of Sport Sir Clive Woodward. The decision was made following detailed consultation with British Weight Lifting.
Notes to editors:
This means that the BOA has now confirmed that handball, indoor volleyball and weightlifting will be taking up Home Nation Places at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Weightlifting will take place at ExCel during the London 2012 Olympic Games. Weightlifting fans can ‘sign up’ for tickets now on www.tickets.london2012.com.
There is no construction needed to create ExCeL’s five arenas.Test events will be held in the year before London 2012 to ensure the venue will be ready to stage the Games. After the Games, ExCeL London will revert to its role as one of Europe’s largest and most versatile exhibition spaces.
Weightlifting is one of the oldest competitive sports, being one of the seven sports that made up the programme of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Male weightlifting events have been held at all 22 subsequent Olympic Games, with a women’s programme being introduced for the first time at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. There are currently 15 medal classes at the Olympic Games, across eight male and seven female weight categories.
BOA: The British Olympic Association (BOA) is the National Olympic Committee for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Its mission is to transform British lives through the power of the Olympic values and the success of Team GB. The BOA’s role is to prepare the ‘Best of British’ athletes for, and lead them at, the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. The BOA delivers extensive support services to Britain’s Olympic athletes and their National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values and brand in the UK.
The BOA receives no funding from the lottery or government, has no political interests and is completely dependent upon fundraising income to achieve its mission. The BOA is the strong, independent voice for British Olympic Sport. For further information, go to: www.olympics.org.uk
British Weight Lifting: British Weight Lifting was formed in 1910 (originally called The British Weightlifters Association), and is the recognised governing body for Weightlifting and Disability Powerlifting in the United Kingdom. Its purpose is to bring together all amateur weightlifters into a united self-governing body. British Weight Lifting is the body tasked with delivering a world class coaching and support programme for elite athletes in Olympic Weightlifting and Paralympic Powerlifting.
For further info or interview requests please contact:
Miriam Wilkens, BOA Head of Comms, on 07768775762 orMiriam.firstname.lastname@example.org (for interviews with Andy Hunt)
Frazer Snowdon, British Weight Lifting Media Officer, on 07866 004382 email@example.com (for interviews with weightlifters and British Weight Lifting representatives)