Euro Weightlifting: Rebekah Tiler targets medals despite funding cut

Rebekah Tiler
Tiler finished 10th at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and will feature in April's European Championships

Rebekah Tiler aims to show UK Sport were wrong to doubt her Olympic medal credentials, beginning with the European Championships in Croatia.

Tiler, 18, finished 10th at Rio 2016, but UK Sport cut all funding for British Weightlifting as they did not believe they possessed a 'credible' medal chance for Tokyo 2020.

"I want to prove to them I can still be the best," Tiler told BBC Sport.

The championships run from 1-9 April, with Tiler competing on the fifth day.

UK Sport stopped funding for the male weightlifters in 2014, but continued supporting the women's programme for Rio 2016 on the basis that they had the potential to attain success at future Games.

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However, after injury saw leading British candidates Zoe Smith and Jack Oliver ruled out of the Olympics, the results achieved by Tiler and Sonny Webster were not enough to convince UK Sport of the athletes' long-term potential.

Tiler, who won European bronze medals in 2016, moved from her family home in Keighley, West Yorkshire, last year to live full-time in Loughborough and be close to the sport's training base.

"It's been really hard and losing the funding has had a really big impact on me," said Tiler,

"I'm not sure what's going to happen and I may have to get a job, which is not something I want to do as I just want to continue training and making improvements."

British Weightlifting chief executive Ashley Metcalfe said the funding loss will "inevitably" cause disruptions, but insisted he will work to "minimise" the impact on the GB athletes.

"We will continue to maximise the investment that is available to us, which includes increased funding from Sport England, in order to give our lifters the best possible opportunity of competing at the highest level," he said.

Tiler will compete in the -69kg division and is part of a five-strong British squad - made up of all-English lifters - for the Europeans.

Sarah Davies (-63kg) and Emily Godley (-69kg) complete the women's line-up with Rio Olympian Sonny Webster (-94kg) and Owen Boxall (-105kg) in the men's team.

London Olympian Zoe Smith has been ruled out of the event as she continues her injury rehabilitation following shoulder surgery.

The European Championships offer athletes the opportunity to record a top-12 result, which would put them in contention for Team England selection for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

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