AS SHE stands on the verge of competing in her first ever Paralympic Games, powerlifting sensation Zoe Newson is still coming to terms with the notion of representing her country on the world’s biggest sporting stage.
The 20-year-old will be flying the flag for Great Britain in the ExCeL Centre on Thursday, August 30 (6pm), when she steps out in front of an expected capacity crowd to compete in the women’s Under-40kg weight category.
It has been a meteoric rise to prominence for the former East Bergholt High School pupil.
After begrudgingly accepting to try the sport in 2008 on advice of Suffolk Spartans coach Neil Thomas, believing he could turn her dwarfism into an advantage, she has progressed to claim numerous national and world titles including the prestigious IPC World Powerlifting Championships in Kuala Lumpur, second only in importance to the Paralympics.
This year her obvious potential was demonstrated further when she set a new European junior record at the British finals before going on to break her own record, lifting 88kg in Cardiff in the IPC UK Invitational tournament.
Those achievements have seen her climb to fifth in the world rankings, but despite this, Newson still cannot quite believe how far she has come in such a short space of time.
“When I started four years ago I never thought I’d be going to my first Paralympic Games, it is amazing really,” she said.
“It is amazing how quickly it has come around, I can’t believe it really.
“Just being there is a massive achievement for me and I’m just looking forward to it.
“For me it will be all about the experience of being there and with it being in London it is going to be awesome.”