From Bulwell schoolgirl to history-making Olympic weightlifting medalist - the rise of Emily Campbell

The Olympics is seen as the greatest sporting show on earth – and this week one of its undoubted stars was history maker Emily Campbell, of Bulwell.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 2:48 pm
Emily (left) on the podium in Tokyo after being presented with her historic silver medal (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The 27-year-old, from the Snape Wood Estate, blazed a trail to become the first ever British female to land a medal in weightlifting.

Her infectious smile and scream of delight lit up the International Forum as she grabbed a landmark silver in the +87kg category.

And the victory on Monday was felt with huge pride almost 6,000 miles away as Emily’s relatives and close friends – numbering around 50 – watched the moment on a big screen in the garden at the family home.

Emily during her Bulwell school days and after graduating from university

Mum Lynda, 57, speaking to the Dispatch, said: “We are just blown away really. Emily is very inspirational and level-headed.

"She works so and this is such a positive for her. She has put British female weightlifting on the map.”

Emily has been backed all the way by her immediate family – mum Lynda, dad Trevor, 64, and sister Kelsie, 23.

And she isn’t the only one with a rich sporting pedigree. For her sister is a supremely talented swimmer and has competed for Jamaica in the World Shortcourse Championships – as well as bagging a flurry of golds while at university in the USA.

Emily Campbell on holiday as a youngster with her family

Other members of the family have also played the likes of football, cricket and rugby union. Mum Lynda threw discus to county level and played hockey.

But the rise of Emily is spectacular. She only picked up a barbell five years ago!

As a sports science student at Leeds Beckett University Emily specialised in hammer and shot-putt. But she was advised to take up weightlifting to boost her strength.

It was there that Yousef Ziu spotted her and soon saw her talent. He took her to a competition in Mansfield which she won and that sparked the journey to where she is today.

The former Snape Wood Primary School pupil, who trains out of the Atlas gym in Alfreton, progressed at such pace that in 2018 she was picked for England for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia and landed a bronze medal.

She also took a bronse in the U23s European Championships alongside numerous English and British titles.

In April, she headed to the senior European Championships in Moscow, Russia, and landed a hat-trick of golds.

But now she has taken her pedigree to a whole new level in Tokyo at a Games that was delayed by a year because of Covid.

"She was in very, very good shape (for Tokyo),” said Lynda from the family home whereEmily’s dad Trevor had built her a weightlifting platform so she could train through lockdown while rehabbing from knee surgery.

“Her ultimate aim was to win a medal. Her reaction when she achieved that was priceless. When she dropped to her knees and shook I just wanted to be there to give her a hug. But it was magical.”