SALISBURY’S powerlifting stars Paul Newell and Neil Arnold will be in action this weekend hoping to do enough to book their places at the 2009 World Championships.
And with this year’s prestigious competition being held on their doorstep at the BIC in Bournemouth, both are keen to ensure there are no slip ups when they take to the stage at the seaside venue for this weekend’s British Championships.
Newell, a silver medallist at last year’s World Championships in Florida in the highly competitive 100kg class, is one of the leading lights of the British team, but he knows there can be no complacency going into the event.
“The pressure’s on because everyone wants to be involved in the World Championships here later this year,” he told Sport4Salisbury.
“As the host nation, there’s an extra place in each class for our powerlifters, so a top three finish will guarantee an invite to the Worlds.
”The 31-year-old, who recently became a father for the first time, was in fine form at last year’s World Championship, posting a personal best total of 900kg.
But he was no match for USA legend Shawn Frankl, whose 1,151kg total blitzed the opposition.However, rumours abound that some of the sport’s global stars are currently undecided about travelling to the UK in November.
That could leave the door open for Newell (pictured) to go one better this time around.But it’s a case of one step at a time for the Salisbury sportsman, who is keen to follow in the footsteps of the city’s powerlifting greats Bill West and Lee Steggles by landing a world title.
“At the moment I’m only focused on this weekend. Training’s gone well and I’m in good shape.”
Meanwhile, Arnold, who only returned to the sport last year after a five-year break, is also aiming to be involved in this year’s World Championships.
Arnold, who competes in the 82.5kg class, broke the British squat record last year in Florida and also produced a personal best benchpress, fully justifying his decision to come out of retirement.
His build-up has been hampered somewhat with a minor tendon injury, but he is confident he can secure at least a top three finish to book his place in the British team for November.
Arnold competes on Saturday, while Newell is in action on Sunday.
This weekend’s competition takes place at the BIC’S Tregonwell Hall, the event starting at 10am both days (until 5pm). Admission is £10 per day. A two-day pass is available for £17.50.