Olivia Broome instantly fell in love with powerlifting but never imagined she would achieve her Commonwealth Games podium dream years ahead of schedule.
Chorley’s Broome, 21, took silver behind Zoe Newson in a historic England one-two in the women’s lightweight competition at Birmingham’s NEC.
Broome bench pressed 111kg with her third successive successful attempt to register 100 points just 2.2 behind her friend and rival Newson, who racked up 101kg but is 13kg lighter.
Broome said: “I’m over the moon. I was in my own zone, laser-focused on what I needed to do and wanted to achieve. It couldn’t have gone any better than it did.
“Today’s numbers are around the same as training, I’ve started hitting those numbers. But the atmosphere and the venue helped me give that little bit extra.
“The crowd were a massive boost. I was able to pinpoint my parents, which was great.
“A medal means so much to me. When I started this sport, I never thought I’d be here now. I thought it would be years before I could call myself a Commonwealth silver medallist.”
Nigeria’s stranglehold on the sport, they are the only nation to win gold since its introduction at Manchester 2002, was broken in bizarre style after their two athletes, including reigning Paralympic and Commonwealth champion Latifat Tijani, were disqualified for arriving 25 minutes late for the pre-competition kit check.
That allowed Newson the opportunity to upgrade her bronze from the Gold Coast and Broome to get in on the podium action in the sport she only took up in 2017.
Broome, who studies sports science at Loughborough University, added: “I didn’t want to let Nigeria’s disqualification distracts me. I don’t want to get too excited about things, if I start thinking big it often brings a disadvantage to my performance.
“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 put me down for powerlifting. I went down to Loughborough for the try out day and it was love at first sight. Five years later, here we are.”
Broome insisted she was not disappointed to finish behind her teammate and is now hell-bent on making the Paralympics squad for Paris 2024.
She explained: “Our plan is that if we’re guaranteed a medal, defend what we have. I’d much rather do that and come away with something than miss out on a medal if my last lift doesn’t get allowed.
“I’m going to celebrate with the team and my family and Paris is the next goal.”
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