Weightlifting in the Sport Focus Spotlight

February 11, 2020

On the programme of every Commonwealth Games since 1950 and made a core sport in 2006, Weightlifting is next into our ‘Celebrating Our Past, Building Our Future’ Sport Focus spotlight, as we continue to feature each of the 25 sports in which Scotland has competed at the Commonwealth Games.

Look out for all things Weightlifting on Team Scotland’s website and social channels this month as we delve into the archives for tales of past success and also look ahead to the rising stars of the sport who could be representing Team Scotland at Birmingham 2022.

Weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games

Weightlifting is a core sport and has been included in the Commonwealth Games programme every year since 1950. In 1974 the number of lifts was reduced from three (Press, Snatch, Clean & Jerk) to two (Snatch and Clean & Jerk). Between 1990 and 2002 a medal was awarded for each of the Snatch and Clean and Jerk phases and for the combined total. Since 2006 medals have only been awarded based on the combined total of both of these phases, as is the case at the Olympics.

Para-Sport Powerlifting was integrated into the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002 and has featured ever since. Both the Weightlifting and Powerlifting events may be contested by men and women. Events for women were first introduced in 2002.

Scotland has found success in the sport throughout its history winning 16 medals: 2 gold, 5 silver and 9 bronze.

Find out more about Weightlifting in the Commonwealth Games on our dedicated Weightlifting page.

Scotland’s Commonwealth Games Medallists

Scotland had sent weightlifters to both the 1950 and 1954 Games but the first medal came at Cardiff 1958 courtesy of Philip Caira, who had been in the team four years earlier and finished fifth. There was no question of finishing outside the medals this time round and he took Light Heavyweight gold by a comfortable margin ahead of Sylvanus Blackman of Barbados and Jack Kestell of South Africa. At Perth 1962 he became the first weightlifter in Commonwealth Games history to retain his title out-lifting George Manners of England by 4.5kg  for gold. These Games also saw bronze for James Moir in the Lightweight event.

There were no medals to be had in 1966 despite the return of Caira and Moir to the team and the presence of future medallist James McNiven. McNiven would have to wait another four years to hit the podium but it was worth the wait, his Flyweight bronze Scotland’s first medal of the Edinburgh 1970 Games and their 100th since the Games began. There was bronze too for Grant Anderson in the Super Heavyweight event as Ray Rigby of Australia took gold over Terry Perdue of Wales due to his lighter body weight, both having lifted the same weight. McNiven added a second bronze in 1974 in the new revised format without the Press lift.

Edmonton 1978 saw Charles Revolta win Flyweight silver and John Hynd win Super Heavyweight bronze. Revolta took 4th place at Brisbane 1982 before a return to the podium at Edinburgh 1986, again winning silver. He was joined on the podium by Alan Ogilvie who took bronze in the same event and went on to win two silver and one bronze medal at Auckland 1990. After a gap of two Games with no medals, Tommy Yule took bronze in the 94kg Snatch before going on to win bronze again, this time for combined total with the move away from medals for each phase. Following Yule’s success, Peter Kirkbride picked up the baton for Scotland in the 94kg event with silver at Delhi 2010 , Scotland’s most recent weightlifting medal. Closest in the most recent Games has been Micky Yule who came agonisingly close, finishing 4th at both Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 in the Heavyweight Para-Powerlifting event.

Team Scotland Weightlifting Medallists
Cardiff 1958 Gold – Philip Caira
Perth 1962 Gold – Philip Caira, Bronze – James Moir
Edinburgh 1970 Bronze – Grant Anderson, John McNiven
Christchurch 1974 Bronze – John McNiven
Edmonton 1978 Silver – Charles Revolta, Bronze – John Hynd
Edinburgh 1986 Silver – Charles Revolta, Bronze – Alan Ogilvie
Auckland 1990 Silver – Alan Ogilvie (x2), Bronze – Alan Ogilvie
Manchester 2002 Bronze – Tommy Yule
Melbourne 2006 Bronze – Tommy Yule
Delhi 2010 Silver – Peter Kirkbride

Youth Games Success

Weightlifting has featured at the Commonwealth Youth Games on four occasions; Edinburgh 2000, Bendigo 2004, Pune 2008 and Samoa 2015. Five lifters represented the home nation in 2000 with Gary McLean the top performer with three bronze medals in the 85kg Snatch, Clean & Jerk and Combined Total. In a quirk of fate a future Youth Games competitor was at these Games as Daniel Richardson, who would go onto compete for Scotland at Samoa 2015, visited the Edinburgh 2000 Athletes Village as a 3 month old baby, his father Alex the Weightlifting team manager.

Bendigo 2004 saw two Scottish medals, and a move away from separate medals for Snatch and Clean & Jerk just as in the main Games. Peter Kirkbride was the top performer with gold in the 85kg event and he would go on to win senior silver six years later at the Delhi 2010 Games. Jenna O’Neil took bronze in the Women’s 58kg event to make this Scotland’s most successful Youth Games in Weightlifting to date. Pune 2008 saw Scotland represented by three athletes with James Burley recording the best result with 6th in the 85Kg category, his clean and jerk of 128kg representing a personal best. At Samoa 2015 Biatrice Gabell won silver on the opening day in the Women’s 53kg with six perfect lifts. She set new Scottish Youth and Junior records in the process and took one of Scotland’s first medals of the Games. Daniel Richardson also broke Scottish records as he took sixth in the Men’s 69kg, while in the Men’s 77kg Jason Epton put in a strong performance to finish fourth, his total just shy of his own British record.

Scotland at the Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games is the only occasion where Scotland gets to compete in a multi-sport event as a nation in its own right and is one of only six countries to have competed in every Commonwealth Games since their inception in Hamilton in 1930. Represented by 15 athletes participating in six sports at those first Games, winning a very creditable 10 medals, Scotland have gone on to win medals at every Games since.

Edinburgh became the first city to hold the Games twice in 1970 and 1986 and also became the first city to host the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Scotland hosted the Games for a third time when Glasgow welcomed athletes and officials to the XXth Commonwealth Games which was held from 23rd July – 3rd August 2014. Team Scotland celebrated their most successful Games in history, winning a total of 53 medals and went on to record their highest overseas medal tally ever at Gold Coast 2018.

Find out more about the Commonwealth Games and Team Scotland’s past success in our Past Games section.

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