POWERLIFTING sensation Zoe Newson marked her Paralympic debut in glittering fashion yesterday by clinching a bronze medal on day one of the London 2012 Games.
In front of capacity crowd at the ExCel Centre, the 20-year-old Suffolk Spartans member equalled her personal best of 88kg in the under-40kg class to claim a third place finish behind eventual winner Nazmiye Muslu of Turkey, who set a new world record of 109kg and China’s Zhe Cui, who lifted 97kg to take silver.
Newson opened up with a lift of 84kg, before failing with her first attempt at 88kg in the second round of lifts, despite a formal protest from her coaches.
The decision of a no-lift was upheld but European junior record holder went on to successfully complete the same weight in her second attempt to guarantee her a medal.
Vietnam’s Thi Hong Nguyen also managed the same total, but Newson took the place on the podium due to her lower body weight.
“I’m really proud,” said a tearful and shocked Newson afterwards.
“Usually I’m so laid back whatever happens, but this means a lot to me,”
“I thought I’d come here and be fourth or fifth and maybe set a personal best, but I’m so excited now.
“The crowd really helped me and it’s really good that they are here to support you.
“Most of my family and friends were here as well, so it was awesome.”