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Olivia Broome is breaking barriers in for women in sport

Olivia Broome will compete for Team England as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Paralympic bronze medallist Olivia Broome is on a mission to break the stereotypes of powerlifting amongst young women.

The Chorley star is acutely aware of the male-oriented nature of the sport and has encouraged young girls to keep themselves open as they never know what they might achieve.

Broome herself was introduced to the sport through a talent pathway at Loughborough University aged 16 after being inspired by fellow powerlifter Ali Jawad silver at the Rio 2016 Games.

"It was something new and something that I hadn't really heard of up until 2016 when Ali won his silver,” said Broome, who is one of more than 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

"I love the process of getting strong, especially as a female in this type of sport as there's not a lot of that. I like to challenge the stereotypes that society puts on women.

"When you think of strength sports, it's a male-dominated sport and it's kind of proving that there's not these gender norms in this sport, it's a sport for everyone.

"I quite like that aspect, especially with my teammates. We have a lot of strong women in this sport, alongside a lot of strong men.

"I can hopefully inspire a lot of people to go out and try something new like I did.

"I always say to young children, 'why don't you try something new or something that you've never heard of'.

"Because you might find that you're like me and you really enjoy it and are really good at it."

Broome won bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with a personal best lift of 107kg in an opportunity that she only dreamed of.

She said: "I went out just to get the experience of the Games and then to come home with a medal was a nice addition.

"I don't think winning the medal hit me until I came home.

"Obviously, our families weren't out in Tokyo and I think when I came home and saw my family and was able to show them the medal, that's when it hit me that I'm a bronze medallist."

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise of over 400 athletes in total, and having secured her place on the squad, Broome is looking to capitalise on the once in a lifetime opportunity for medal success in her home country.

With the silverware around her neck, the 21-year-old will head to her maiden Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer with high hopes.

And Broome is hoping that the added excitement of her family and friends cheering her on will lift her even further up the podium.

She said: "With the Games, I've set my expectations that I would like to medal.

"I think I'm capable of putting something good on the bar and come back with a medal.

"With family and friends there, they will be able to see what I do.

"There's a lot of my family who I tell 'I lift weights and I lift big weights' but they haven't really seen what a competition's actually like and what that atmosphere can be.

"So I think that can be exciting to show them that this is what I do and this is why I like it so much.

"It's really exciting being selected. Obviously, it's in a home crowd and my first one and I think it's going to be a really exciting Games.

"It's definitely something special with it being in England. There's that sense of pride really because it's at home."

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