Owen facing tough life choices in pursuit of weightlifting dream

·3-min read
Ed Owen is in the rare position of choosing his university alongside progressing his weightlifting dream.
Ed Owen is in the rare position of choosing his university alongside progressing his weightlifting dream.

By Tom Masters, Sportsbeat

Guildford’s Edward Owen is at the age where many have to make key life choices but few have to factor weightlifting training into their university planning.

The 18-year-old, who started weightlifting after watching YouTube clips of the Olympics, only began the sport three years ago, but has quickly risen to prominence and now, as he makes the jump from school to university, he also makes the jump into senior competition.

Owen’s successful junior career was hampered by Covid but he still delivered U17 national glory.

But the Surrey athlete is under no illusions that making the jump from underage weightlifting into senior competition is going to be easy, instead using it to motivate himself further.

“It's been difficult. I think it's a massive jump to be honest,” said Owen, who has been selected to be part of the Team England Futures programme with Commonwealth Games England and SportsAid.

“It takes a lot of motivation to keep going because in the junior level, you are competing against blokes who are usually your age.

“But then you get to this sort of level and now you're competing against people in third year at uni or people who have jobs.

“It's a huge step up and I think it can get you down sometimes because you have to sort of get used to not getting first or second because there are just people that are three or four years older than you who are much bigger and have been lifting for a lot longer.

“But I think it's also a great motivator because it allows you to look up rather than being at the top and thinking, oh yeah, this is it.

“I'm just working against myself now but going against bigger guys, older guys, it inspires you to go higher than you think you could have before.”

The Team England Futures programme will see over 1,000 talented young athletes and aspiring support staff given the opportunity to attend the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, watch live sporting action and take a first-hand look behind-the-scenes.

The programme seeks to better prepare athletes to deliver medal-winning performances as either Team England, Team GB or ParalympicsGB debutants at future Games, while also giving support staff a first-hand look at the opportunities they could be presented with, as well as challenges they may face, at a multi-sport competition.

Outside of weightlifting, Owen is looking to study biomedical sciences at the University of Birmingham, with the goal to move into cancer research, but he insists that he will be continuing his sporting endeavours as well as academic.

Coincidentally, Birmingham is also where the Commonwealth Games will be held this summer, and Owen will get to experience first-hand just how special the Commonwealth Games is.

He said: “It was quite funny because I booked tickets for the weightlifting, and it just so happens that it's exactly the same time as the team England Futures event.

“I was really excited for it anyway because obviously it's coming to England and it’s going to Birmingham.

“But for the Commonwealth Games in general, I've never been involved in a proper games.

“I've seen a couple of the things at the London Olympics a few years ago, but for this, it's next level.

“The excitement is ridiculous. And I just can't wait to be able to be behind the scenes and stuff like that and watching different stuff with Team England Futures.”

Commonwealth Games England has appointed SportsAid to lead on the development, management and operational delivery of Team England Futures at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. You can find out more about the programme by visiting https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/partnerships/team-england-futures/.

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