Powerlifting champ: 'Lifting 30-stone weights cured my sore back'

Tracy O'Callaghan Tracy O'Callaghan breaks the European and British record Image copyright Tracy O'Callaghan
Image caption Tracy O'Callaghan lifts 190kg (30 stone) at the European championships in Helsingborg, Sweden, breaking the record

A nursery manager who joined her local gym in an effort to strengthen her sore back is preparing to compete in the world powerlifting championships.

Mother-of-two Tracy O'Callaghan, 39, from Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan, first joined her gym three years ago.

Her strength was soon spotted by the Welsh Powerlifting Association on a visit to her gym.

In March she broke the European and British record with a squat lift of 190kg (30 stone).

In June she will be heading to Calgary, Canada, to compete in the world powerlifting championships, making her the first Welsh woman in her age group to represent Britain at the contest.

Image copyright Tracy O’Callaghan
Image caption Tracy O'Callaghan says she is excited and nervous for the world championships

She said: "A new gym came up in Llandow and I saw they were offering a female lifting course so I thought I'd give it a go because I was suffering with a bad back.

"It's always been a bit of a laugh - if people had something heavy to lift they'd say 'call Tracy'."

But her career in powerlifting almost stalled before it had even started: "I agreed to compete but I didn't turn up to my first competition because I was too nervous and I hated the singlet you have to wear. But I went along to the next one and got the Welsh record."

Image copyright Tracy O’Callaghan
Image caption Mrs O'Callaghan trains at a gym in Llandow

And now she has fallen in love with the sport: "It's like therapy really. It's a way of life for me now.

"I've met amazing people and got to go to amazing countries to compete."

And the icing on the cake - it has also cured her backache: "I have no back problems now. Instead I have twinges in other parts of the body from overtraining."

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