Commonwealth Games: TASS CLASS OF 2022

Athletes supported by TASS are representing England across the Commonwealth Games this summer. In the latest of a series of features on our rising stars we hear from weightlifter Emily Sweeney.

Competing in the World Junior Championships was an incredible experience.

I was in Greece during May to test myself against athletes from across the globe and then I hot-footed it back home to sit my A Levels. I’m now training twice a day and really pushing hard in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games. I’ve got a few training squads coming up before I head to our preparation camp. I’m working closely with my amazing coach Rhod to make sure that I’m the best athlete I can possibly be on the day. I’m building up my strength and we’ll be focusing on some technical improvements too.

TASS support is key right now.

It’s been of massive benefit to me. My TASS base is at the University of Nottingham and I have regular training camps there. I’ve been able to make use of lifestyle support, physiotherapy, psychology and strength and conditioning. All of that has helped to support my sport and allowed me to complete my A Levels without worrying about my weightlifting. The strength and conditioning support from TASS has been a game changer. I’ve been working on core stability and shoulder stability — after introducing a few new exercises into my daily warm-up there’s been a definite benefit to my full lifts.

Home is where the heart is.

Words can’t describe how excited and grateful I am for the opportunity to make my Commonwealth Games debut on home soil. Being able to perform in a sport I love in front of a home crowd and surrounded by some very special team-mates will be a once in a lifetime experience. To be based in the athletes’ village, alongside the best in Britain and beyond, will be amazing. I can’t wait to represent my country and I’m so lucky to be supported by so many friends, family, British Weightlifting…and TASS!

Lockdowns had an upside.

My gym shut down permanently due to COVID and so I started training from home. That posed its own challenges but, overall, I really enjoy it and I found that training alone helped me to gain some much-needed mental resilience. Of course, a few competitions were cancelled due to the pandemic — I was due to travel to Uzbekistan in December of 2021 for the Commonwealth Championships but because of the Omicron Variant and COVID risks that didn’t happen. I also caught COVID before I was due to fly to the World Youth Championships in 2021 and that prevented me from attending. However, we’re returning to international competition now and finally gaining the valuable experience which we may have missed out on during the last two years.

A dual career approach doesn’t faze me.

I couldn’t imagine a world where I wasn’t involved in sport. Finding weightlifting was one of the best things to happen to me. Being able to represent your country is such a unique and special feeling which always keeps me motivated. But I’m just as committed to my education. All the sacrifices you need to make in order for a dual career approach to work are always worth it. I’m so grateful to have support from schemes like TASS to make this dream possible.

I’m starting university later this year.

I completed my A Levels at The Maelor School and Sixth Form earlier this summer and the next stage of my education beckons. It’s a big step and something I will have to combine with weightlifting if I’m going to qualify for the international events I’ve targeted later this year and into 2023. October will be a true test. It’s my first term at university and the European Junior Championships are being held in Albania. I’d like to compete there.

Photo Credit: Team England