Black History Month: British Weight Lifting lead sector efforts to educate and inspire

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Zoe ()

British Weight Lifting (BWL) is the national governing body for Weightlifting and Para Powerlifting within the United Kingdom.

They are responsible for managing elite athlete performance, educating people on how to lift safely and supporting grassroots projects within the weightlifting community.

In July, BWL launched a new scholarship scheme to encourage more people from BAME backgrounds to move into coaching roles within the sport.

12 places were made available, completely free of charge, to support individuals to complete a Level 1 and 2 coaching qualification to enable them to become a licensed BWL Coach.

Due to the success of the scheme and the number of applicants who applied, BWL increased the number of free places to 21 to ensure everyone who took the time to apply received a place.

After supporting the Black Lives Matter campaign, BWL spent time listening to its members who reached out to ask what actions they were taking to improve their understanding of the impact racism has in the UK. The scholarship scheme was created as a result of this. 

Raiyyan Khan was one of the people to receive a place on the scholarship scheme. She got into the sport after finishing her GCSEs in 2016.

“The coaching scheme is great, and it made me very happy to see BWL continue to focus on becoming more educated and investing in ethnic minorities in weightlifting,” said Raiyyan.

“To continue this way was lovely to see as it showed it wasn’t just a ‘trend’.”

These thoughts were echoed by fellow scholar Amir Khan, who has been working in the fitness industry for 10 years.

He said: “During a time where many people from a BAME background are fighting for representation within sport and society, I think it is great that BWL have taken a proactive approach to upskill coaches from underrepresented backgrounds.”

BWL hopes that this scholarship scheme will help to demonstrate a commitment to equality and enable a greater number of individuals from a BAME background to undertake the training required to become a qualified coach and help to drive forward the sport of weightlifting.

Ashley Metcalfe, BWL CEO commented “BWL, like many governing bodies across the country, are looking at how we can do more to better support all areas of our membership. We are determined not just to listen and learn but to make on-going meaningful change.

“We have some outstanding young lifters from really diverse backgrounds and I hope this opportunity can encourage the introduction of a new set of talented coaches to strengthen our sport and enrich the lives of our lifters.”