IT has been a brilliant start to 2018 for Strength Academy Wales (SAW) – cemented by a great showing in the Welsh Senior Championships.

Under head coach Simon Roach, SAW took a young squad with many competing in a senior event for the first time, and it proved a great experience for those involved.

Para-powerlifters Harry Thomas and Nathan Stephens lifted exceptionally well.

Youth lifter Harry gained a bronze medal with a PB bench press of 63kg and Nathan, a senior athlete currently preparing for the Commonwealth Games, took gold after a PB of 141kg.

In the 58kg category, another junior in Niamh Roach was fifth in her first ever senior event, snatching 52kg and producing 65kg in the clean and jerk.  

Senior lifter Daisy Melhuish performed extremely well to grab gold and the Welsh title with impressive lifts of a 68kg snatch and 88kg clean and jerk.

Junior lifter James Hart broke all of his personal bests to take the silver medal. He performed a snatch of 107kg and clean and jerk of 123kg.

Another youngster in Chloe Hood was also in her first senior event, and broke competition PB’s to gain fourth place with a snatch of 68k and clean and jerk of 80kg.

The team were supported by Simon Roach and fellow coach Jim Horner. Other Pembrokeshire members included Justin Head, competition manager, and a large group of volunteer technical officials in Stephen Donovan, Darren Rogers, Alex John, Niamh Roach, Brittney Thomas and Helena Madan. Ruth Hardern and James Hart also helped out with loading during the competition.

Aside from the Welsh Championships, further good news has come in the form of Chloe Hood being selected for the British youth under 17 squad. She is currently working hard and training towards a place in the European Championships.

As stated Para-powerlifter Nathan Stephens is getting ready to represent Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in April, while Simon will travel in the dual role as team manager and coach for both hr Weightlifting and Para-powerlifting teams. James Horner will also be coaching the Para-powerlifting squad.

Furthermore, another Pembrokeshire figure, Stephen Donovan, has been picked to be a technical official in Australia by the International Weightlifting Federation, in conjunction with the organising committee for the Gold Coast event.