The 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa provided a wonderful opportunity for 1,000 athletes from across the world to come together and, for many, experience an international multi-sport environment for the first time. For weightlifting record holder Rebekah Tiler, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that will stay with her forever.
It’s been an impressive last two years for Rebekah. On the back of her debut Commonwealth Games performance last year, the 16 year old proudly led Team England out as the Official Flag Bearer at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa this year and came home with a well-deserved gold medal.
“It was an amazing experience to be in a multi-sport environment, with lots of different athletes and I really enjoyed it. I was pleased that I came back with a gold medal, which is what I was aiming for.”
Tiler, from Keighley, West Yorkshire, is starting to regularly accumulate medals. She won Silver at the World Youth Championships earlier this year and Gold in a record breaking performance at the 2015 European Youth Championships, where she won Gold in 2013 and Silver in 2014. Last year, Tiler also became Britain’s youngest ever winner of the British Senior Championships when she won gold in the 69kg class, lifting a total of 205kg and enjoyed her time in Samoa.
“I loved everything, the opening and closing ceremonies were amazing, especially as I was flag bearer for the opening ceremony, and the whole event was a great opportunity to mix with different athletes from different countries.”
She is now becoming a regular in the Team England set-up, having competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. She narrowly missed out on a medal in Glasgow last year, finishing fourth, but was able to use her experience to lead Team England’s young athletes in Samoa.
“Team England supported us brilliantly in Samoa, everything went as planned and they really helped me to achieve what I wanted. It was a great atmosphere in the camp and great to mix with other athletes, see how they train and prepare and I was able to compare it to how I do things.”
And now, Rebekah feels that thanks to her experience in Samoa, she is able to aim for future events such as the 2018 Commonwealth Games, next year’s Olympic Games in Rio and ahead to 2020.
“Samoa definitely helped me to develop as an athlete and as an individual. I have experienced a lot more thanks to it and hopefully I will get to experience a lot more in the future as a result.
“I am so excited for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018. As long as I keep training hard, I hopefully will be able to compete there. For now of course, the 2016 Olympics in Rio are a goal for me. I have my qualification period at the end of year, in November, at the World Championships so hopefully can qualify and come back with a medal. And in Tokyo 2020, I want to get gold.”