Edinburgh man places eighth in Olympic weight lifting World Championship

An Edinburgh man competing out of Murrayfield CrossFit gym has become the UK number one, European number two and World number eight for Olympic weightlifting after only picking up the sport two years ago.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 4:30 pm

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As a result of the success, Murrayfield is planning on launching Edinburgh s only barbell club and they hope to encourage people of all ages to take up the sport.

John Kennan, 35, who works as a coach at the gym, took up Olympic weight lifting in 2019 after being encouraged by Will Graham the gym owner who is also a head coach and Jamie Walton who is a coach and general manager.

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John has said that he hopes his quick rise within the amateur level of the sport can act as motivation for young people becoming involved.

Jamie and Will both hope that by using John as an example they can encourage newcomers to the sport and potentially become Olympians.

On competing and achieving 8th in the world last weekend, John said: “I’ve probably started a bit late for the Olympics as I compete in the 75kg 35-40 year-old category. It all happened sort of by accident when we realised I had a strong snatch technique which is important in the sport.

“But it shows you do not have to have been doing this for a long time to see success and for me hard work beats talent every time. So I encourage anyone from all age groups to come along and try to get involved in the new barbell club.”

L-R Jamie Walton, John Keenan and Will Graham.

All three of the coaches have said that Olympic weight lifting has been marred with misinformation relating to younger competitors. There is a damaging myth that Olympic weight lifting can damage a child’s growth but they say that is the opposite of the truth. They argue that a child’s development can actually be enhanced by the sport if they are in the hands of a coach who knows what they are doing.

Jamie said: “Corey Duncan who is now 15 has made exceptional progress in just over a year. He joined the gym after suffering from confidence issues and the sport has changed his life. This sport can be so powerful.”

“Most people do not understand the sport and it is mad as it has been one of the oldest Olympic events. Weight lifting consists of snatch and clean jerk - John has trained seven days-a-week for a year and a half to get where he is now. It is not just a sport you can turn up to. But with hard work you can succeed, John has shown that.”

Will said: “Normally these competitions are held in venues so we tried to recreate that for John by getting his friends and family all down here. It was amazing how they ran and regulated the event from all over the world. The World’s happens every four years but you have to qualify by competing in Regionals, Nationals, European and then the World’s.

Corey Duncan who has gained confidence and silence personal doubts since taking part in Olypmic weight lifting.

“John’s unbelievable progress shows to the kids that if they start now, then they could go to the Olympics one day, so why not come down and give the club a go. We have all the equipment here so there is no need to worry about extortionate costs.”

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