At the 2022 European Open Championships in Tbilisi, Zoe Newson became the European champion for the second time for Great Britain in her para powerlifting competition. With the Commonwealth Games being held in Birmingham last year, Zoe represented England, where she won Gold in the women’s lightweight event, having previously competed at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2018. For Team GB, Zoe won Silver at the 2021 World Para Powerlifting Championships in the women’s 45kg event, and has taken part in the Paralympic Games, winning Bronze in London 2012 and Rio 2016, and was part of the team during the pandemic at Tokyo 2020. In May, Zoe was named Sportscover Para Powerlifter of the Year at the British Weight Lifting Annual Achievement Awards, and she will be competing next month in Dubai at the World Para Powerlifting Championships. Chatting with Zoe, she answered our questions about winning Gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, representing Great Britain and England around the world and being named Sportscover Para Powerlifter of the Year in May.
How was your time competing at the 2022 European Open Championships in Tbilisi, where you became European champion for the second time?
It was good. It was a good feeling.
You represented Team England at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which saw you win the Gold medal in the women’s lightweight, how did you feel coming away as Commonwealth champion in front of a home crowd?
It felt really good. It was good to have my family and friends come and watch me especially my fiancé, my son and mum and dad.
Having previously competed at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2018, what are the Commonwealth Games like to compete at?
It’s really good. It’s good to catch up with friends and see different countries.
At the 2021 World Para Powerlifting Championships, you won Silver in the women’s 45kg event, what was this like?
It was good. As soon after I won it, I FaceTimed my fiancé and my son.
What was it like being part of the British team at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and staying in the athletes village during the pandemic?
It was different but it was ok. It was hard for me as I was away for 18 days, which is the longest I have been away from my son and that was hard.
Do you have any favourite memories from competing at the Paralympic Games over the years and how was it winning Bronze at London 2012 and Rio 2016?
I have a lot of different memories. London was good because it was my first Games in my home country and I had family and friends there. Rio was good because it was my first Games away.
Can you tell us about some of the other competitions you’ve been part of over your para powerlifting career so far and what are some of your favourite highlights?
I have done the Worlds, Europeans, World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Paralympics. I think winning London 2012 Bronze medal and Commonwealth Games Gold in 2022 would be my favourite.
Do you have a favourite aspect of being involved with sports and how does it feel representing Team GB and England at major international competitions?
I do. It feels really good representing Team GB and Team England.
Where does your love of powerlifting come from and how did you get into it?
I was at school playing badminton at lunchtime and my old coach was there to do a talk about the army and he said because of my height I would be good at it. I didn’t really want to do it but went home and spoke to my parents and they said ‘if you don’t like it, give up’, but I really enjoy it and now I get to travel the world, which is the best part.
What does a typical training day look like for you at Suffolk Spartans?
Arrive to Suffolk Spartans, have a chat while my coach sets up, then get into training and lift weights and have fun.
Have you been given any advice over your time in the sport that has stuck with you and what advice would you give a new para powerlifter starting out?
The best advice I got was just enjoy it and have fun. My advice is to have fun and don’t give up.
In May, it was announced you had been named Sportscover Para Powerlifter of the Year at the British Weight Lifting Annual Achievement Awards, how was this?
It was good to get that and have people voting for me. It’s good I have a lot of support behind me. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What is it like attending events such as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and ParalympicsGB Homecoming Concert?
Both of the events were really good and I enjoyed them. It was good to see our celebrities there.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
Spending time with family and making memories.
What are you looking forward to for competing at the World Para Powerlifting Championships in August?
I’m looking forward to going back to Dubai. I have a lot of different memories there.
Do you have any other competitions coming up that you can tell us about or that you are targeting?
The only one I’ve got coming up is the World Championships in August in Dubai. I leave the targets to my coach.
Follow Zoe on: