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Para powerlifter Mark Swan thought he was in a battle to win bronze in Birmingham but surprised himself to claim Commonwealth Games silver.
Loughborough-based Swan, 21, bench pressed 202kg, over three times his body weight to finish second in the men’s lightweight final on Thursday.
Swan recovered from failing with his first lift to rack up 145.5 points, finishing behind Malaysia’s Paralympic champion Bonnie Bunyau Gustin who took gold in a new Games record of 154.6.
Swan said: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I have it round my neck, but it doesn’t feel real yet.
“My confidence is normally quite high anyway but on that first lift, I started a bit early, and it got the heart rate up a bit.
“But I kept calm and composed, went out there for the second one and it all went from there.
“My expectations were that it was going to be a fight for the bronze medal with the weights people have lifted recently.
“I left it all to the coaches, they know what to do, they do this all the time. To get a silver medal surprised me.”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Swan felt the full force of an electric atmosphere at Birmingham’s NEC with his family in the stands to cheer him onto the podium.
And thanks to his trusty Taylor Swift playlist, Swan was able to deliver his best on the big stage to walk away with a medal around his neck.
He said: “Having a home crowd is incredible. The atmosphere really spurs you on when you walk out. My family were up there somewhere too.
“It was a mixture [of music] at the start, quite fast and upbeat and then it changes to Taylor Swift.
“Either You Belong with Me or Red by Taylor Swift. It works, so why change it?"
Despite exceeding his own expectations, Swan will not be celebrating too hard as he begins his preparations for the European Championships in September.
He explained: “Having a home crowd is incredible. The atmosphere really spurs you on when you walk out. My family were up there somewhere too.”
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