WEYBURN – Weightlifter Alexis Ashworth felt “pretty incredible” when the silver medal was put around her neck at the Commonwealth Games on Aug. 1st, and now has her sights set on the Worlds and then the Olympic Games in 2024.
Competing in the 71-kg weight category, she lifted 91 kg in the snatch, and then lifted a personal best of 123kg in the clean and jerk for a combined total of 214kg, good enough for a silver medal.
Ashworth, 23, grew up on a grain and cattle farm at Oungre, and started on the road to the Commonwealth Games by qualifying at a meet in Toronto in February.
Ask how this experience was for her to be part of Team Canada in Birmingham, England, at this international competition, she said, “It was very challenging experience for me. This was my first international meet so it was a really big one to do for my first.”
Dealing with the pressure was a challenge for her, and she learned a lot about pushing through and persevering as an athlete at this competition.
“I was physically prepared. I am stronger than I have ever been but weightlifting is just as much mental as it is strength based. You can be the strongest lifter there and finish last if you aren’t mentally prepared, however there’s really no way of preparing mentally besides through experience,” said Ashworth.
“I was very stressed out and overwhelmed at the beginning of the competition and I wasn’t really able to get a hold of my emotions. I didn’t do very well in the snatch. But in Olympic weightlifting, it’s based off your total so I had to clean and jerk more than I ever had to fight back.”
She noted she missed her first attempt in the snatch to lift 91kg and succeeded in her second attempt.
“On my third attempt I missed 94kg, which was tough because I knew I was capable of lifting way more. So I had to pull myself together for the clean and jerk portion of the event. I ended up having to take a 7kg jump for my third attempt in the clean and jerk and ended up lifting 123kg, which is a personal best for me by 1kg,” explained Ashworth, adding her emotions turned from stressed out and nervous to happy and relief.
“Receiving the medal was pretty incredible. I knew all my friends and family were at home watching and my parents were in the stands. Coming from small town in Saskatchewan, it’s a tight knit community, so I could feel the support from back home,” she said of the experience of being up on the podium for the medal ceremony.
“Aside from the silver medal, this was a very important meet experience-wise. I learned a lesson to fight back and put up the total I needed to podium,” she said.
Coming up, she is hoping to qualify for Worlds in December, which will be held in Colombia, and is the first qualifier meet for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
“I will try do one more meet before then to put up a better total hopefully. Worlds is the first qualifier meet for the Olympics. It isn’t mandatory but it is beneficial if you can make it. So I’m just going to try take one meet at a time,” said Ashworth, adding that there are quite a few meets that will count over the next two years but the Commonwealth were just a bit too early to count towards the Olympics.
She noted that the Olympics will be very, very tough to qualify for as they cut the number of weight categories for women’s weightlifting from 10 to five, “so the competition will be even stiffer. You have to be ranked in the top 10-12 in the world in your weight category.”
Coming up she will attend a meet in Calgary around middle of September, which will be a good one for her to do and will count to qualify for Worlds.
Aside from her weightlifting, Ashworth will be living in Saskatoon to finish her final semester of nursing school and will be done in December.