Why we do what we do - never forget we all make a real difference to people
Libby Blair aka the ‘Powerlifting Granny’ on Instagram is a Powerlifter in her 50s, who is breaking the social norms of what it means to be an elite athlete. 2019 is her first year as a supported athlete and her story is inspirational, showing that it’s never too late to get into sport.
Libby started powerlifting in the summer of 2016, mainly to improve her mental health and maintain fitness but by January 2017 she was representing Northern Ireland in major competitions and coming home with great achievements . To date she has;
- Represented Great Britain in the World Powerlifting Championships, winning a silver medal for deadlift which placed her 4th
- Represented GB at the European Masters Powerlifting Championships
- Represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships twice
All of Libby’s achievements did not come without challenges. Back in December 2018 she had her first experience of vertigo resulting in a number of medical tests, which highlighted some underlying medical issues. Over the following 3 months, she had to considerably reduce her training which left Libby questioning her ability to carry on with the sport. Thankfully her coach did not allow her to give up and with the help of her GLL Sport Foundation support; she went on to compete for GB in Sweden in June 2019.
‘Powerlifting is my saving grace, it is my release – when everything else feels as if it is falling apart I can always trust the clang of the metal to hold me together.’
Being a GLL Sport Foundation-supported athlete has meant she is able to train at Shankill Leisure Centre, a centre with all the equipment needed for Libby to improve her performance and is managed by a fellow powerlifter. This really creates an air of understanding and supportive atmosphere, while being able to have her coach alongside her when training is also a huge benefit. The financial contribution has helped reduce stress and anxiety around competition time. With powerlifting being a self-funded sport, she can now focus more time on training than how she is going to raise money for competition and travel expenses.
Currently, Libby is working towards qualifying again for the GB Powerlifting Team. Having achieved a new British record at the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships, we have no doubt in our mind that Libby will qualify once again.