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Ladies Who Lift
The competitive sport of powerlifting is enjoying a huge upsurge in popularity, especially among women. Here, two local lifters tell their stories
Jenny Mark-Bell

Aneela Rose has a lot going on in her life. Mother to two young children, she also runs a digital marketing agency in Burgess Hill. Like most working mothers Aneela struggles to find time for herself. But when she does, it’s not a long soak in the bath or a night on the tiles that restore her equilibrium, but pulling on a pair of gloves and heading to what she calls “that part of the gym that most women are afraid of – the part with the big heavyweights where the men are.”

Aneela’s chosen discipline is called powerlifting, and it’s a sport growing rapidly in popularity – particularly among women. The organization British Powerlifting reports that 35 percent of its members in 2019 are female – up from 23 percent in 2015. Enthusiasts say that powerlifting is supremely suitable for female bodies – it’s very successful in improving bone density which is a specific concern for women as we age. And for women like Aneela, there are numerous other benefits, as she explains: “It’s empowering and it’s addictive. It’s my release. I run a business, I’m a mum, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an auntie and everybody wants a piece of me. Powerlifting is the place where I go to escape.

“I needed somewhere that I could go where I’m not the boss, I’m not leading. I can have other people guiding me, supporting me and telling me what to do for a change.”

It has certainly proved fruitful, with Aneela’s winning titles for her body weight and age group including AWPC World Powerlifting Champion 2018. She also placed first in the GPC British Powerlifting Championships 2017 and set a British record at the ABPU British Championships this year.

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November 2019

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