Weightlifter’s family takes bubbly to market to thank people who supported her

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The family of silver medal-winning weightlifter Emily Campbell said her success will inspire others as they praised the community support which helped her to train.

Emily Campbell was crowned Britain’s first female medallist in weightlifting after lifting 161kg in the clean-and-jerk – a new British record – to come second in the women’s +87kg category.

The family live in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, and Campbell’s mother, Lynda, said the local market gave money towards her training, free fruit and vegetables and even repaired her Olympic weightlifting shoes free of charge.

“All these little things added up and took some of the pressure off Emily, and off me and her dad,” she told the PA news agency.

Mrs Campbell, who took bottles of bubbly to the market for them to celebrate Emily’s win, said locals were wearing stickers that read “Ey up Emily” and some had even called for a permanent monument in the market in her honour.

She added: “She is so passionate about the sport and wants to give back to the local community and now she has raised herself to an international level she will be looking further afield and wanting to inspire young people all over the world.”

Campbell’s sister, Kelsie, a swimmer who currently competes for Jamaica, said her sister’s win will push her to try to compete at the next Commonwealth Games and Olympics.

“She inspires me,” she told PA. “The past year with the pandemic it has been really tough on all athletes to find creative ways to carry on training.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Day Ten
Emily Campbell with her silver medal (PA)

“For me it has made me realise, ‘OK I have got an Olympic silver medallist sister now, I need to sort my act out and get myself on the next plane to the Olympics’.”

Their mother added: “Emily knows 100% that right from her being a little girl, our goal was investment in her, and then when Kelsie arrived it was investment in them both.

“We would have moved heaven and earth to give them what they needed to achieve their dreams.”

Weightlifting lost its UK Sport funding in the wake of the Rio Olympics in 2016 but there is hope Campbell’s win will increase support.

British Weightlifting will now nominate athletes, including Campbell, for extra funding from UK Sport.

British Weightlifting’s head of performance and Tokyo team leader, Stu Martin, said: “It’s hard to put into words how special it is for the sport, from losing funding four years ago to having someone like Emily fall into our laps.”

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Day Ten
Emily Campbell during the +87 kg weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan (PA)

He added: “Hopefully, there will be some more funding now. We’ve had some support through the aspiration fund and we now have a great group of young girls with potential who are hopefully feeling incredibly inspired by what they’ve seen.”

Kelsie Campbell has also experienced similar funding issues and her parents have often had to fund her flights to international competitions.

“I think that’s also a common problem in sport, I think that’s a big reason why a lot of people don’t carry on the sport after 18, because at that point, you’re not in school any more and you cannot earn a living off sport without some help,” she said.

“Being successful in sport is all relative, for one person the goal may be Olympic champion for another it might be reaching a national final, so I would say to anyone, follow your dreams and you can find a way to make it happen.”

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