IS the next generation of weightlifting stars being nurtured in Warrington?

The Pride Performance Gym on Old Liverpool Road has certainly churned out some superb results of late, with their members competing against the best in the country – and indeed the world – prior to lockdown under the guidance of coaches Heather Flannery and Andrew Griffiths.

One of them – 14-year-old Elli McEvatt – performed so well at last month’s English and British Age Group Championships that she earned the right to represent Great Britain on the world stage.

Competing in the under 15s -59kg division, Elli recorded an impressive 62kg snatch and 80kg clean and jerk to secure an English gold medal and a British silver as well as her place on the GB team for the IWF Youth Weightlifting World Cup, which is being held virtually this week.

Even though she was in the under 17s age group, Elli finished seventh and recorded two personal-best lifts.

Her displays also ensured that, despite her tender age, she will be competing against adults at next year’s English Seniors competition.

Elli, who lives in Runcorn, was one of seven Pride members to take medals away from the championship.

Darcy Ruddock, 12, will compete in the under 15s age group at next year’s English Age Groups after winning English and British gold medals in the -55kg category. She recorded a snatch of 34kg and a 48kg clean and jerk.

Warrington Guardian: Warrington Guardian:

Darcy Ruddock in action and with her medals

Seventeen-year-old -96kg lifter Oliver Godwin brought home both golds after a 95kg snatch and a 115kg clean and jerk – an impressive feat for someone who took up the sport less than a year ago.

Warrington Guardian:

Oliver Godwin

There were also two gold medals for David Smith, 16, as he lifted 115kg and 143kg in the snatch and clean and jerk respectively to keep him on track to qualify for next year’s IWF European Youth Championships.

Warrington Guardian:

David Smith

English and British silver medals followed for 17-year-olds Matthew Tonge and Harry Smith, with the former recording personal best lifts of an 88kg snatch and 110kg clean and jerk.

Warrington Guardian:

Harry Smith

Warrington Guardian:

Matthew Tonge

Grace Batey did not medal but considering the 22-year-old had only just recovered from contracting Covid-19, hitting a 55kg snatch and 73kg clean and jerk was a superb display.

Warrington Guardian:

Grace Batey

Pride Performance Gym is the only British Weightlifting Talent Academy in the north west and work closely with the sport’s governing body on youth development.

They work with people of all ages and abilities – from complete beginners to professional athletes – in weightlifting, strength training and strength and conditioning.

To find out more about the gym, call 07554636066, email or visit their social media pages @prideperformancegym.