By Oli Dickson Jefford, Sportsbeat
Yoxall powerlifting star Rebecca Bedford broke new ground as she returned from Tbilisi with multiple World Cup medals.
A former para badminton world champion, Bedford has her sights set on reaching the Paralympic Games as a powerlifter next summer and continued her qualification quest in strong fashion in the Georgian capital.
The 24-year-old, who was competing in the women’s 61kg category, set a new British record to claim a silver medal in her individual competition, while she was joined by Lottie McGuiness and Olivia Broome to win a second silver medal in the team event.
“We left with a target to hit 96kg, which is what I did, so I’m really happy and the coaches are really happy,” said Bedford, one of 50 young athletes supported by a partnership between SportsAid and Pitching In, a multimillion-pound grassroots sport programme established by Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral.
Here’s a look back at our incredible @TeamSportsAid and Pitching In event last week!
Great to hear from @TJL1967, @bethanyshriever, @kylekey997, @beckybenchpress and the rest of our SportsAid legends. What a team!#ItsYourGame pic.twitter.com/Q0mhDTWLoY
— Entain (@EntainGroup) April 6, 2023
“Everything went pretty much perfectly according to plan. I had two training sessions out there and they went as well as they could, so we were confident going into the competition.
“It was a tough battle for the gold. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get the gold - I was two kilos off - but we got exactly what we wanted in terms of what I lifted, so we’re still really happy with that. It’s a six kilo personal best and a new British record, so I can’t really ask for much more.
“It’s the first team that Great Britain has ever done the team event, so the whole team went in not really knowing what we were facing. It was a case of ‘let’s just see what happens,’ so we were really delighted when we got silver.
“We went in with no expectations and managed to bring home a medal, so that was really exciting for the whole team - and I’m sure that we’ll try that again at one point.”
Multiple medals represent a significant step for European powerlifting champion Bedford, who is now targeting the World Championships in Dubai at the end of August, an event that could prove key for her Paris ambitions.
She added: “I’m just aiming to get another personal best at those, so I’m just training now and getting ready for that.
“Tbilisi was a great addition to my ranking hopes, I went in seventh and I managed to maintain that ranking.
“The worlds will be about just trying to hold that again and keep holding my position until Paris.”
Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more