It was a chilly November 2018 and 11 English athletes arrived in to the small town of Maia, Portugal for the first WKSF European Championships. With training complete, all that was left to do was deliver quality performances on the platform! Over 100 athletes from around 20 countries were in attendance, each one of them hungry for a podium place and a shiny medal (and most arrived hungry to ensure they made weight for the competition!!!).
Our athletes did not let their team, clubs or country down. The England team bagged 13 GOLD and 6 SILVER medals over the course of the competition! Amazing results for the England squad! Individual events and results summarised below.
Athletes and Results
Day by Day
Day 1 – It was long cycle day at the WKSF European Championships and it was a busy day for the team with 7 athletes lifting across the day! Up first was Tracey Howson competing in the ladies pro long cycle competition, doing her best to keep her nerves under control Tracey managed 63 reps, a personal best and a GOLD medal in her category! With the bar now set the team did not disappoint, Chris Skeats and Laura Crosby competed in one-armed long cycle on the 16kg kettlebell, Chris delivered 92 repetitions and bagged the GOLD, there was stiff competition in the 75+kg class but Laura fought a tough battle to the bitter end and grabbed herself that SILVER medal by 2 reps, delivering 111 reps in total! Amazing performance, and a really exciting set to watch!
It was the England boys up next with David Talbot on the 24 kg kettlebells putting up 38 quality reps and bringing home another GOLD! Peter Reilly-Day, the amazing team England junior athlete, was next to lift the 16kg kettlebells! It’s safe to say Peter, or wonderkid as we have fondly named him, absolutely nailed his set with 101 repetition and another England GOLD!! We’re sure we have a big name for the future here! On the very next flight was Peter’s mum Catheryn Day! She amazingly managed to maintain focus after just watching a mega emotional performance from her son and delivered 93 long cycle reps on the 16kg kettlebells and brought home another team England GOLD! On the same flight as Cath we had another amazing athlete, our Skinny (Elaine Skinner), competing in the veterans 12kg two-armed long cycle, Elaine delivered 47 reps and another England GOLD! To conclude day 1 we had Chris Skeats (pocket rockets) to lift again in the veteran one-armed long cycle on the 12kg kettlebell, Chris certainly found her stride on this set and smashed 132 quality repetitions and another GOLD for the team! What an amazing finish to day 1 lifting.
BUT we weren’t quite finished there! On to the opening ceremony, the whole squad lined up to parade across the platforms and hear the opening remarks from WKSF committee members and organisers. Each country received a very delightful wooden plaque in appreciation for their support of the WKSF and our very own Peter Reilly-Day was invited to the front to receive a recognition award of the youngest athlete at the competition!
Day 2 – Ladies Biathlon & Snatch Day. Team England had 6 ladies to lift on day 2, Tracey, Cath, Elaine were competing in their respective veteran biathlon categories and all lifted on the same flight! While Joy Talbot, Michelle Dunston and June Sawdon were competing in various snatch only categories.
Tracey, Cath and Elaine stepped up together on the platform, Tracey and Cath both lifting the 16kg kettlebells and Elaine Skinner on the 12 kg kettlebells. Tracey delivered 105 jerks and 113 snatch, both lifts were competition PB’s for Tracey and another GOLD for the England team! Cath nailed 90 jerk and 139 snatch and bagged herself the SILVER medal in her category. Elaine gave us 49 jerk and 142 snatch and brought us yet another GOLD!
The snatch only ladies did not disappoint with Joy Talbot smashing a very comfortable 142 repetitions on the 16kg kettlebell and won the SILVER medal in the adult class and a GOLD in the veteran class! It was Michelle Dunston’s debut performance for the England squad, under tough judging conditions Michelle managed 52 repetitions and brought the SILVER home in the adult category and GOLD for the veterans! Our final lifter of the day and another team England debutant, June Sawdon lifted the 8kg kettlebell in the ladies veteran snatch! Our Team England supergran certainly lived up to her name and smashed her set with 181 reps, a GOLD medal and a special award for eldest competitor!!
Day 3 – Men’s Biathlon. We had 3 Team England gents to lift on day 3, first up Sam Thornton, Sam made his team England debut in at the WKSF World Championships in Milan this year and narrowly missed out on a podium position so he definitely felt there was a score to settle here. Sam managed 65 jerk and 106 snatch under strict judging conditions and brought us a SILVER medal. Lifting on the same flight were the super talented Mr T (Dave Talbot) and Wonderkid (Peter Reilly-Day). In a very exciting jerk set we saw Peter deliver (through blood, sweat and tears) 66 repetitions and Dave battled through to the bitter end with 63 repetitions. On to their snatch set and Peter had a fire in his belly for this one, smashing 179 repetitions! A new personal best by over 30 repetitions!! Just awesome, and yet another GOLD!! Mr T, delivered 80 reps in his snatch set and brought us a very hard earned SILVER medal!
There were no medals for the support crew, but I think it’s safe to say that the HAB’s (husband’s and boyfriend’s) and chaperoning mother’s provided amazing support for all the lifters. The rest of the team got totally behind each and every English lifter, it’s certainly a huge part of what makes this team so special!
We would like to congratulate friends of Team England (old and new), Abigail Johnson, Caroline Dougal, Tim Joseph, Sonni Eliassen, Maria Moran, Eduardo Fonseca to name just a few! We loved supporting you all and were totally inspired by your sets! Congrats!
Massive thanks to the judges who were incredibly tough but amazingly consistent throughout the competition, our very own Chris Skeats did an amazing job of judging on day 3, including 3 marathon lifts!
We’re all super excited to join Eddie Sheehan and the team in Ireland for the WKSF World Championships 2019 in Dublin! It’s gonna be AWESOME!!
Thanks to Sam for being camera man for the competition. Great pictures as always!