Louise looks back on a great year

Powerlifter Louise Edwards of Harrogate. (S)
Powerlifter Louise Edwards of Harrogate. (S)

2011 has proved a busy year for Harrogate powerlifter Louise Clark, having just competed in her seventh competition in as many months.

Since March Louise, 32, has lifted in three Yorkshire & North East Championships – winning her 52kg weight class and setting regional records each time; two British Championships and two International Championships.

In May’s European Powerlifting Championships, held in Pilsen in the Czech Republic, Louise achieved a personal best bench press of 55kg and a cumulative total of 305kg which saw her finish in 10th place.

Her deadlift of 140kg was rewarded with a new Commonwealth Record.

“Although in terms of placement I still have a long way to go, I was pleased to achieve two personal bests and get seven out of nine lifts,” Louise said. “I didn’t know about the broken records at the time but I am over the moon about them.”

The British Championships were held in July, where Louise finished second with personal bests in the squat (112.5kg), bench press (57.5kg) and overall total lifted (310kg).

August saw Louise compete in the British Unequipped Championships where she came first with yet more improvements: her raw bench progressed to 55kg - more than her own bodyweight.

Continual improvements led to Louise being selected to represent Great Britain in the Western European Championships at the beginning of September. Held in Cuijk in The Netherlands, Louise came third with personal bests in the squat (117.5kg), bench press (60kg) and equalled her deadlift Commonwealth Record of 140kg.

Her efforts meant the GB women’s team came fourth overall.

Her final competition of the year is the World Powerlifting Championships, taking place in November. “I’m thrilled to have received the opportunity to represent my country three times this year,” added Louise.

“It’s a huge honour especially considering I only took the sport up four years ago. The Worlds are being held in Pilsen – the same place as the Europeans – so knowing the venue should help with my nerves!

“I’m hoping to set some more PBs as that would top off a great year for me.”

Louise trains at Gambaru Fitness on Station Parade and is grateful for the support the members and staff give her.

Louise adds: “Jonathan Walker, who owns the gym, is always willing to help me out with my training which means I can keep improving.

“As an ex-powerlifter, Jonathan understands what equipment I need to train with and ensures that the gym can meet my needs.

“I’ve made great progress this year, and I’m hoping to build on that with bigger lifts next year.

“The 2012 Europeans are being held in the Ukraine and the Worlds are in Puerto Rico.

“However, powerlifting is an amateur sport, so despite being one of the elite GB squad members I have to fund all competitions myself.

“I’d be very keen to speak to anyone interested in offering me sponsorship so I can continue to train and represent my country to the best of my ability.”

Louise can be contacted on louiseclark1978@hotmail.com