Jacob Finnigan revelling in golden age for British weightlifting
Following Emily Campbell's historic silver in Tokyo, Jacob Finnigan believes there's never been a better time for the sport in Britain
By Oli Dickson Jefford, Sportsbeat
Weightlifter Jacob Finnigan believes there has never been a better time for the sport in Britain.
The 20-year-old Colchester ace, who balances his career alongside working as a personal trainer and CrossFit coach, first took up the sport aged 14 after previously playing football and competing as a judoka.
With future Olympic and Commonwealth Games appearances his long-term target, Finnigan doesn’t have to look hard to find inspiration.
“The fact Emily Campbell won silver for Team GB [at Tokyo 2020] is incredible, and I’m hoping there’s more people on the GB team that can get to that spot,” said Finnigan, who is funded by a partnership between SportsAid and RBC.
“It’s very exciting at the moment. It was a great achievement from Emily, that’s really helped the sport as well in getting it out there a bit more.
"I fought boys bigger and older....they may take it light or there would be the other extreme!"
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“I enjoy being able to go to the training camps and compete with the GB team, compete with the people that I never thought I’d be training with. I’m now at that level so I get to be in a group with them, train with them, and get to communicate with them.
“I’ve competed at a number of British Championships and quite a few English Championships. I’ve also competed at the Youth World Championships a couple of years into my weightlifting at Las Vegas, and I competed in Finland for the European Junior U23 Championships - which was the first one I’ve done at U23s.
“I’ve competed at a couple of international events. I was hoping to do more, but I had an injury with my wrist which affected me with my training and being able to qualify for competitions.
“I’m hoping that within this year I can get maybe two internationals in there, and get the British Championships and English Championships in the bag as well.”
SportsAid Week 2023 is here, with the annual initiative, which was launched in 2016, taking place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March.
This year’s theme focuses on ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ as the charity shines a spotlight on the country’s most talented young athletes and celebrates the incredible work being undertaken by its partners to support the future of British sport.
Finnigan’s own success is remarkable considering that he lost hearing in his left ear at the age of three, and then in his right ear aged six.
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He uses implants to hear and believes it is vital that everyone is able to have the same opportunities he has within sport.
“Although being deaf can present challenges at times, I am lucky that I can usually train and compete with minimal difficulty,” added Finnigan, who is supported by SportsAid and commercial partner RBC.
“I am more than aware that it is not always so easy for others within sport.
“Accessibility and inclusion are extremely important to me- those facing adversities that others may not have to face deserve to participate in sport in the same way that everyone else can. Accessibility is so easy to achieve if everyone has an inclusive mindset.
“I’m really fortunate in having the cochlear implants to allow me to hear like everyone else. In competitions it’s never really affected me.
“I thought that if I’m lifting these big weights on the stage that they would fall out, but not once have they fallen out in competition - but in training, pretty much every session they’ll fall out.
“I can’t really wear a headband because I’ve got magnets on my head, but other than that it doesn’t really affect me at all.”
SportsAid Week 2023 takes place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March! Join us for a dedicated week of fun and awareness-raising based around theme of accessibility and inclusion. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk