Teenage weightlifter is crowned British junior champion

Weightflifter Laurence Oakden on his way to the British junior title.
Weightflifter Laurence Oakden on his way to the British junior title.

A teenage weightlifter, who trains at a gym in Alfreton, has been crowned the new British junior champion after one of the best performances of his career so far.

Laurence Oakden, who turned 18 in August, took by storm the British Junior and U23 Olympic Championships, which were held at the Phoenix Theatre in Castleford, Yorkshire.

Oakden, who trains at the Atlas gym on Salcombe Road, as well as at Cyril’s Gym in Nottingham, competed in the men’s 77kg category.

Olympic weightlifting comprises two lifts, namely the snatch and the clean and jerk, and competitors get three attempts at each, with the points accumulated from the best ones added together.

The competition at Castleford was very tense and Oakden wasn’t at his very best. But his total on the day of 227kg was enough to secure him victory and the title in his category.

The teenager, who is coached by sports teacher Aaron Lindsey from Nottingham, lives in Kimberley. He first became interested in weights while at school and taught himself how to lift by watching videos and by researching information online.

If he continues to make progress at the current rate, his main ambition is to represent his country at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

He was given a helping hand last year when winning a place in Broxtowe Borough Council’s Elite Athletes Scheme, which supports talented athletes by offering free access to leisure facilities.