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Weightlifting and Powerlifting events have been taking place in Bournemouth at Kings Park Athletic Centre and Oakmead College since the early 1970s. The Poole Sports Centre Powerlifting Club run by our secretary in the late 1970s was also affiliated to the British Amateur Weightlifting Association and presented teams in County, South West Divisional and National competition.
Oakmead was prominent in schools Weightlifting competition throughout the 70s and 80s hosting several Divisional events including the annual Oakmead verses Bristol Schools (Empire Sports Cub in disguise). The school often held in house competitions with up to 48 student lifters taking part.
The lifting club based at Kings Park worked in close liaison with the athletic club for many years and with help from Oakmead and Poole S.C.Club set up a gym in a small hut but later moved into a rear part of the main stand.
The equipment was provided exclusively by a private benifactor, Oakmead College(lifting platform) and the lifting club. Moral support for the clubs efforts was particularly evident from Bob Dunn, Norman Pankhurst and the delightful Henry Burridge of BAC (a plaque and sign writing by Dave Keightley, a powerlifter) was dedicated to Henry in 1982 sadly before he ever set foot in the premises.
With grant aid via BWLA and local fund raising the club was able to get high quality lifting equipment and weight stack machines which with Council support to extend the facility increased the scope of the gym. Our current secretary (who became Athletic Club President in the late 80s) incorporated the Athletic Club into the running of the club which continued successfully for many years.
We ran many successful BWLA lifting competitions at Kings Park during the 80s and 90s with a number of throwers from the Athletic Club competing to give them a focus for their strength training in the winter months.
After the turn of the century four local lifters were prominent in carrying the flag for local drug free lifters who were members of a drugs free federation, namely BWLA. Paul Hooker, Nick Rees (Commonwealth Championships 7th place), Steve Tyers (European Junior bronze medallist in the Deadlift), and Randy Hayes all won British Powerlifting titles with Randy also competing for the England Weightlifting Team.
The ladies making an impact at National and International level included Debbie Hawker (Commonwealth Champion), former World Thai Boxing Champion Janine Murphy, Louise Watton (IPF European Bench Press and Deadlift Bronze medallist ) and the diminutive Chloe Lambeth who won two sub junior Bronze Medals at the World Junior Championships in France in 2007.
In the most recent times the arrival at the gym of Matt Rowe gave us all the impetus to join the British Drugs Free Powerlifting Association and with the split in BWLA we continued our membership (for weightlifting) with them and also joined the new GBPF Powerlifting Federation.
During the last couple of years we have lifters who have been selected for Great Britain (Alistair Cannings World Juniors 10th when 4 years under the top age limit), Steve Tyers as well as Louise Watton and Rosi Lima (World Championships in South Africa)
The Club is now looking to expand our achievements in the sport of Powerlifting, and in view of the 2012 Olympics, Weightlifting.