Weightlifting glory for UEL strongwoman
Weightlifting sensation Mercy Brown has become the European junior champion in the women’s +75kg category, smashing the British senior record in the process.
Mercy, 19, who is in the second year of a Sport and Exercise Science degree at the University of East London (UEL), took home the gold with a combined lift of 227kg in the snatch and clean and jerk categories.
Her performance, the equivalent of lifting two elephant calves above her head, also shattered three British records (under-20, under-23 and senior).
After receiving her gold medal at the championship in Klaipeda, Lithuania, the Crystal Palace weightlifter said: “It felt great to break the records and win gold. I’m now looking ahead to the Rio Olympics in 2016 as my next target.”
Those aspirations are well within Mercy’s reach as she is currently ranked No 1 in her weight class in Great Britain, with the top two qualifying for the games in Rio de Janeiro.
Brown started lifting in 2011 at the age of 15 and now trains five to six times per week – something she has to balance with her studies.
“It’s hard to find time to fit in time to train and do my university work, especially with championships in other countries, but I can’t just lift forever,” she said.
She has previously represented England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, narrowly missing out on a medal by finishing fourth.
“I cried after that competition,” she said. “I was more capable than what I put out there. It was probably one of my worst performances to date but it was all part of my learning curve.”
Mercy is part of a powerful contingent of elite female athletes currently studying at the University of East London.
They include GB sprint stars Bianca Williams and Shannon Hylton, England U19 footballer Lilli Maple and international swimmer Aimee Willmott.