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WATCH Commonwealth Dreams
Tuesday 6th March 2018 @ 13:44 by Mark Phillip

An Olympic weightlifter is hoping to make his mark at the Commonwealth Games in April.

Alex Collier, from Ashton, has been selected to represent Team England at the prestigious competition, which is taking place on the Gold Coast, Australia, from 5-10 April.

The 23-year-old, who previously attended Hyde Clarendon Sixth Form College, is aiming for a top five finish on his games debut.

Speaking to Reporter Sport from his training base at Triple X Gym in Stalybridge, Alex said he can’t wait to put years of hard work into practice. “To compete at the Commonwealth Games has always been a dream of mine, so to actually be doing it makes me the happiest I’ve ever been” said Alex.

“It will be the first time I’ve competed at the games and there are a lot of experienced lifters there, so I’ll be happy with a top five finish.”

Despite feeling slightly nervous ahead of the competition, Alex is no stranger to big events.

In fact, the 7x British Champion has previously competed at the Commonwealth Championships in India and Australia.

Alex is confident that, with the help of respected coach Adam Travis, he can smash his goals in four weeks time. “Adam used to be a GB lifter himself; he was one of the best in his category” said Alex.

“Having him as my coach and seeing what he did is a massive inspiration.

“He runs his own gym, Triple X Stalybridge, and allows me to train here for free. That in itself is a massive help given the lack of funding in the sport.”

Alex laments the lack of funding and believes it has serious repercussions for athletes across the country – none more so than himself, who spends up to £100 per week on food and supplements alone. He said: “UK Sport cut the funding for weightlifting a few years ago, so men and women don’t get paid, and so we now rely on getting a job or securing sponsorships to keep us going. I’m working part-time and training full-time to benefit my weightlifting career.”

To provide him with the best possible chance of furthering his career, Alex is appealing to the local community and businesses to help with funding. If you are interested, you can contact him on Twitter on the following: @alexcollierGB

Ahead of the competition, British Weightlifting Chief Executive Officer, Ashley Metcalfe said: “Our squad is a real blend of new and experienced lifters, highlighting the true breadth and depth of talent currently available in England. We are most grateful to both Team England and Sport England for their continued support in providing a great opportunity for all our squad to be well prepared and in great shape for the Games.

“It is hugely exciting and a great opportunity for all the squad to showcase their talents, all ahead of a home Games in 2022.”