OLYMPIC GAMES: Battle of a lone Briton

SPORT-BY-SPORT GUIDE No 12: WEIGHTLIFTING
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Weightlifting has one of the worst drug abuse records of any Olympic sport, and the British team did nothing to change this at Barcelona in 1992.

Two British competitors - Andy Saxton and Andrew Davies - had to be withdrawn before the event began after drug tests found traces of clenbuterol, classified as a steroid agent.

Britain did not win a single medal at Barcelona; the best performance came from Peter May, who finished a creditable seventh in the 90-kilogram category. Weightlifting in Britain has been in decline since. Only one Briton, Anthony Arthur (83kg) has qualified for Atlanta, and he was a wild card selection, whereas eight British lifters went to Barcelona.

Although the common perception of weightlifters may be of muscle-bound jocks with more brawn than brains, Arthur, 23, from Manchester, is in the middle of taking a chemistry PhD. His recent record has shown promise: he was eighth in the European Games in March.

But Arthur is realistic about his chances. "I don't really believe I can win a medal. I hope to be placed in the top 20," he said, "As far as drug abuse is concerned, that's all in the past now. British weightlifting has moved into a drug-free era."

It is 100 years since Britain won its only gold medal in the sport, in the one-armed competition in Athens in 1896. Arthur expects his main competition to come from the Russians, Greeks, Turks, Bulgarians and Chinese who, he says, are all "very strong."

GREAT BRITAIN: A Arthur (76kg).

Comments