From being hospitalised for an eating disorder, Grace Howse has made great strides — to the point where she is now aiming for the top of the world in her new sport.
The 16-year-old Mildehall College Academy A-level student only started powerlifting in August last year, but she has gone on to break three British records in her first affiliated competition.
Those results helped the Methwold-based lifter to qualify for the European Full Power Championships in May, with Howse believing the sky is the limit for what she can achieve, with glory at the World Championships in Glasgow in November also among her ambitious 2018 targets.
“Without sounding big-headed, this year I want to set some more British records and I think I can set European and World ones too,” she said.
“I would like to win the Europeans and the Worlds.”
Explaining how she became involved in the sport, she said: “I sort of found myself.
“I was hospitalised with an eating disorder and that made me sort my head out.
“I was messing around in the gym and my now coach (British champion powerlifter Lee Hyne) noticed how strong I was and asked me if I had thought about competing, so I said I would give it a go.”
Competing at 63kg in the T2 category (16-17 years) at the BDFPA British Full Power Championships qualifier in Basildon in late November, she set a new British record of 62.5kg in the bench press and 127.5kg in the deadlift (10kg below her pb) with her combined score giving a new total British record across the three disciplines.
“We knew what the British records were and I knew I could do them, but with it being my first time my coach just told me to qualify,” she said.
Howse is now targeting another trio of British records as she looks to qualify for the British Single Championships, which take place in February, while the full power version (where lifts are combined for a total) takes place at the end of July.
Looking further ahead, Howse, who trains five days a week at Motivate Gym in Brandon, wants to go up a weight division to compete at 70kg.
Having discovered the benefits of the sport as part of turning her life around, she added: “Everyone should give it a go. It is not for everyone, but you will not know unless you try it.”