Beauty and brawn, making a difference

By | Sport
Beauty Pageant vying for Commonwealth glory. British Weightlifting Organisation credit@SarahBurton

Sarah Davies is a beauty pageant queen who is giving the sport of weightlifting new meaning.

Before dreams of Commonwealth and Olympic medals, a career in beauty, as a pageant competitor for the 21 year old from Leeds, emanated.

Davies says that entering Miss Leeds in March of 2012 was for a “bit of fun” for her, and “something to do outside of university.”

Yet the narrative of a compelling plot had been written.

Its protagonist would go on from winning the competition and gaining the prized title of Miss Leeds to enter Miss England 2012, as well as other regional pageants.

On March 9th of this year, Sarah Davies came in 18th place in the Miss Galaxy England competition. Proving she was brains and strength as well as beauty would be the next scene of this remarkable adventure.

Like her entrance into the world of beauty pageants, Sarah embarked on her quest of weightlifting success through chance and spare time, as if she was always destined to do so. “I started weightlifting whilst I was at University about six months after being with my boyfriend Jack Oliver, who was an Olympian in London 2012. Jack was training at his old gym down in the capital where we were staying for a while visiting his family, so rather than just sitting in the gym watching I decided to give it a go. I seemed to take to it really well due to my gymnastics background and decided to give it a proper go. The rest is history.”

Speaking to The Positive this week, Sarah told of how since a very early age, sport has been ingrained within her.

“I have been busy with sport my whole life since I was five. I competed in high level gymnastics until I was about 15. As well as my gymnastics I have also danced in Blackpool Tower Ballroom at National Finals for Latin American and I played golf for Lancashire Girls.”

Clear in her passion, Sarah spoke of how sport was coursing through her veins.

“My family is sporty. One of my grandfathers used to be into his weight training–maybe that’s where I got it from–and my grandmother played hockey. My other grandfather plays golf, as does my brother who is now a professional, and my dad used to race motorbikes.”

Her rise onto the pedestal of an acclaimed figure of weightlifting in this latest epoch has patently influenced her competitors on the beauty scene.

The Yorkshire born teacher stated, “Most of the other contestants are amazed by my weightlifting and they all usually have lots of great questions to ask me which I am more than happy to answer, as they are usually about what they should be eating and what the best way to train is to achieve a certain goal.”

“Whether I win the pageant is secondary. I know that at least I have helped some of the girls lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.”

It seems that making a difference is the focal point of Davies’ agenda, and she is focused on how her breakthrough tale has prompted an interest in learning more in others. Uprooting the stereotype in Sarah’s eyes of current society which views “pageants as very dated and that all the girls are starving themselves to be stick thin,” is also very important.

It seems Sarah’s parable is creating a new effigy of weightlifting, too.

Now, the days of people believing you need to be “six feet tall” and “just as wide” are over.

Sarah is a beauty pageant star using her teaching qualities to incentivize a new class of weightlifters, hoping that even some of her own pupils can use her as an example.

A watershed moment, with now, rather than being intimidated by the immediate perception of what a weightlifters make-up should entail, young people especially will see weightlifting as more approachable.

Making a sport previously perceived as being for the giant as more accessible can also improve the health of people in the country and inform them of the best ways to get a toned body.

For now though, Sarah and her beauty pageant whirlwind has been put on the backburner. She is currently focusing her attention on lifting weights. Despite admitting “there is a lot of training to do between now and then,” Sarah would “love to medal at the Commonwealth Games.”

Sarah qualified for the Commonwealth Games after lifting 190kg, with a 107kg clean and jerk lift, alongside an 83kg snatch lift at the English Weightlifting Championships last month.

There are many scenes that could serve as a backdrop for this multi-talented young woman, yet should Commonwealth success come her way, it’ll be Rio, the Olympics, and the Copacabana in 2016 for Leeds’ latest role model.

How can Sarah continue to act as a role model for future weightlifters? 

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