When Fraer Morrow takes to the stage at this weekend’s English Weightlifting Championships it’ll be a step into the unknown for the 20-year-old.
Competing in her first senior event since last year’s Commonwealth Games, the Doncaster athlete will have to adjust to lining up in a new weight class after they were introduced by the International Weightlifting Federation last year.
Formerly competing in the 53kg weight class, Morrow will now lift in the newly approved 55kg class after it was added to the World Championship and Olympic programme.
But despite posing a new challenge to overcome, it could well work to Morrow’s advantage in the years to come.
“I have no expectations of myself going into the English Weightlifting Championships with the weight classes having changed,” said Morrow.
“I just want to see how my body is going to react being a 55kg lifter now. Obviously I’ve got numbers in my head that I’d like to lift, but it just depends on how I feel on the day.
“When I was a 53kg lifter, I used to sit between 55-56kg anyway, so for this competition it’s meant I’ve not had to cut down my weight as much which has been nice. By only losing a kilo I’m going to have so much more energy than before.
“My muscles will be able to recover quicker with the extra energy I gain from being able to eat more so I should be stronger. I feel much stronger.”
This weekend will act as a significant staging post in Morrow’s season as she also looks to compete at the British Championships in June before heading to the European U23 Championships later in the year.
However arriving at this point hasn’t come without its challenges since arriving back from the Commonwealth Games last year.
“Mentally it was so tough coming back after the games. I had just spent a month in the sun training, competing so coming back to England was a bit of a mental barrier to overcome.
“I did try and go straight back into the gym and every session ended in tears, I couldn’t lift the weight I wanted and it was as if my body was saying you don’t need to train, you’ve done half a year’s intense training for one day of competition, you can have this time off.”
Entering into only her fourth year as a weightlifter, Morrow has come a long way since transitioning into the sport from a background in gymnastics and crossfit.
Finishing just shy of the medals in fifth place at last year’s Commonwealth Games, Morrow showed signs of what’s to come in the future, and with four more years of lifting behind her, the prospect of reaching the Commonwealth podium next time in Birmingham is very much on Morrow’s mind.
“The first few years of weightlifting have happened so quick with everything happening all at once. Probably last year when I got selected for the Commonwealth Games, that’s when I realised how quickly things have progressed.
“My next long term big goal will be Birmingham 2022 for sure. I nearly medalled at the Gold Coast so if I’m close to medalling already, imagine what another 4 years on top of me would do. Medalling in front of a home crowd would be the best.”