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Rusty bar first link in bid for success

THIS time two years ago she was a captivated spectator watching in the crowd at the 2012 Olympics, but yesterday it was Louise Mather who was the one standing atop a weightlifting platform with the eyes of a packed arena upon her.

Fourth in her group just two years after taking up the sport
Fourth in her group just two years after taking up the sport

The 30-year-old from Glasgow, making her Commonwealth Games debut in Group B of the 69kg weightlifting, missed her first two lifts at 75kg in the snatch but succeeded on her third attempt, sending rapturous applause around the Clyde Auditorium.

In the clean and jerk, she lifted 92kg and 96kg consecutively before going for broke with 100kg. Mather could not quite manage that lift but it still gave her a combined total of 171kg, enough for fourth in her group. Sandra Ako, of Papua New Guinea, came top of Group B with 191kg.

The eventual victor was Marie Fegue, who competed in Group A of the women's 69kg, and lifted 234kg to claim Cameroon's first gold of the Games, with Itohan Ebireguesele, from Nigeria, second with 222kg and Canada's Marie-Josee Ares-Pilon third with 214kg. Mather placed 11th overall.

For Mather it marked the culmination of what is a remarkable journey. She fell in love with weightlifting while watching London 2012 and was inspired to buy an "old rusty bar" from the internet for £8.

Having first practised alone in her basement, honing her technique by watching YouTube clips, she began to train under the tutelage of Ray Cavanagh, himself a former Commonwealth Games competitor, a little over 18 months ago.

"Two years ago I was at the Olympics with my sister and I thought: Why not give that a try?" said Mather.

"This has taken all of my focus to get to this point. I'm pleased with how it's all turned out. The atmosphere was incredible and the sound when you walk out is just fantastic."

Peter Kirkbride, the last of Team Scotland's weightlifters to compete, will be in action in the men's 94kg this evening. The 26-year-old, from Hurlford in Ayrshire, took silver in Delhi four years ago.

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