Athlete lifts academy to new heights at new opening


Gateshead College has teamed up with a teenage sporting sensation to offer students the chance to strengthen their skills with a new weightlifting academy – a first for the region.

International weightlifting champion Rebekah Tiler from Denholme returned from the Commonwealth Games where she competed for England, to launch the only academy of its kind in the North of England.

At 15, Rebekah is the youngest weightlifter to be crowned as British Senior Champion, she also won gold and two silver medals at the recent European Youth Championships in Poland.

The teenage champion showcased her impressive weightlifting abilities to potential students and visitors at a launch event at the college’s Academy for Sport at the Gateshead International Stadium, where she also gave an insight into her meteoric rise to success.

Rebekah said: “It’s great to see that there is specialist support out there for those who are interested in weightlifting. The facilities and programme that the Academy for Sport has developed for the new weightlifting academy are great and will provide some fantastic opportunities for those who want to get into the sport.”

The exclusive weightlifting academy marks the opening of the thirteenth specialist sports academy at the Gateshead College Academy for Sport.

From September, students enrolled on courses at the academy can sign up to the only weightlifting academy in the region, where they will receive specialist coaching in the state-of-the-art centre to either develop a professional career or pursue the sport as a leisure pastime.

Other attendees at the event included the college’s lead coach, Jon Mason, Gateshead College’s head of sport Lewis Pendleton, British Weightlifting national education and development manager Stuart Cummings, CEO of British Weightlifting, Ashley Metcalfe and Chairman of British Weightlifting Peter Rowley.

Lewis Pendleton, who led the introduction and tours at the launch event, said: “We are delighted to welcome all of the weightlifting experts to the launch of our new weightlifting academy, including the very talented Rebekah Tiler.

“The academy is working closely with British Weightlifting professionals to create a fantastic programme to improve strength and fitness in our Olympic standard gym, as well as to open up opportunities for sport in the North East.

“We are opening up new sporting opportunities by launching the only academy of its kind in the North East with the best training facilities and advice from some of the industry’s leading experts in the field.”

Lead Coach and British Weightlifting Regional Development Officer Jon Mason graduated with a masters degree in Strength and Conditioning from the University of Teesside in 2011.

He said: “It was great to have Rebekah here to show students what they could achieve with the correct training and facilities, which we certainly have here at the Academy for Sport.

“To have the support of one of the best young weightlifting talents in the world is also fantastic, clearly demonstrating that our programme is among the best available and enables people to reach the highest standards and success.”

Gateshead College is the leading college for sport in the region and boasts 13 specialist sports academies which offer state-of-the-art facilities as well as first-class training, coaching and advice. The facilities include classrooms equipped with sports science and medicine facilities, a performance lab, aerobics studio, learning resource centre, an 83 metre-long athletics hall, outdoor artificial and grass pitches and a floodlit throwing area.