Ben Watson is targeting a top-five finish after being selected in England’s weightlifting team for the Commonwealth Games in July.
The 24-year-old from St Birinus Club in Didcot, who heard of his selection yesterday, is considered a likely medal prospect in Glasgow.
“I don’t want to put any extra pressure on myself by making a bold prediction or stating a target figure,” said Watson, who will be competing in the 105 kilogram category.
“But I would be very happy to finish in the top five.
“At the Commonwealth tournament last year I came sixth, so fifth would be a definite improvement.”
Watson has been a nailed-on selection for the 14-strong team since winning the English title in February with a two-lift total of 335kg.
This was only three kilograms less than the winning total at the Games in Delhi four years ago.
He sees his main threats coming from the Pacific Islands and Australia.
“I’m really excited about competing and it’s all the sweeter for having missed out on selection in 2010.
“It will be reward for all the hard work I’ve put in over the years,” added Watson who says he trains nine times a week.
He has been earmarked for success shortly after taking up the sport in 2002, under the guidance of his coach Philip Karlsson, then a teacher at St Birinus School.
It was Karlsson who was responsible for making the club one of the strongest in the country.
Watson is helping to maintain that the club tradition by coaching youngsters in addition to his role as a teaching assistant at the school.
He is not concerned about the elbow injury that forced him to quit midway through this month’s British Championships.
“It was only a niggle, but I didn’t want to risk making it worse,” he said.
“Because of my performance at the English Championships, I had the qualifying mark for the Games.
“Now I’m training hard to make sure I reach my potential in Glasgow.
Although he does not compete in the Clyde Auditorium until Wednesday July 30, Watson is looking forward to attending the opening ceremony on July 23.
“I expect the English coaches will want us to stay up in Scotland to train, but it will be nice that my parents and brother will be able to come and watch me compete,” said Watson.
He had to break off the conversation to take another coaching session.
“It keeps me grounded,” said the competitor with a chance of bringing a medal back to Oxfordshire.
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