St Albans powerlifter to compete for England in Commonwealth championship
- Credit: Archant
A St Albans woman has been selected to compete for England in a Commonwealth powerlifting championship.
Ajanta Hilton will travel to Canada later this month to represent England in the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships as a classic lifter in the Masters category.
The 41-year-old only started powerlifting about two-and-a-half years ago through the training programme CrossFit - before then, she had little experience of working out.
At her best, she can now lift 120kg in a squat, 60kg in a bench press and 140kg in a deadlift.
In the competition, her weight from all three lifts is added together to form a score.
Ajanta is already making her mark in national competitions, claiming fifth place at the British Masters Classic Championships last October and bronze in the All England Women's Championships 2019 in May.
She said: "I don't do it professionally, it is sort of a hobby but I take it quite seriously and I have a coach, Andy Champ, who writes a programme for me."
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As a mum of three and the UK director of a charity based in Sri Lanka called the Rainbow Centre, Ajanta said she never foresaw elite athletic events in her future.
"I think it just shows what you can do if you really work at something, what you can achieve if you focus," she said.
"It is a real cliché, but with encouragement and support you can get there. You can see the weight numbers getting bigger.
"Not every day goes well - you don't hit your personal best all the time - but it is really empowering to lift something heavy."
Ajanta grew up in St Albans, attending Killigrew Primary and Nursery School and then St Albans High School For Girls.
She has encouraged other women to give powerlifting a go: "I don't look bulky at all, it is just really good for women especially as they get older as muscle mass reduces.
"I am honestly just delighted to be going. I just really hope to learn more about competing in an international environment.
"Wherever I come I will be happy, but I will try my best to get a placement."
She thanked her coach Andy and CrossFit St Albans for their support.
The Commonwealth Powerlifting Championship will take place from September 15 to 21.