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Torfaen powerlifter picked to represent Wales seven months after she took up the sport

a woman with barbell on shoulders
Abbi Matthews in the gym

A Torfaen powerlifter is appealing for support from the community and businesses so she can represent Wales at a tournament in New Zealand.

Abbi Matthews, 31, only started powerlifting seven months ago at High Street Fitness in Pontypool. It involves three disciplines: bench press, squat and deadlift. After competing in the Welsh championships in April an email landed in her inbox inviting her to go to the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships 2022 in Auckland on 4 December.

She said: “I  haven’t really come to terms with it yet. My friends are ecstatic. My family are over the moon. I get a big buzz out of it. My confidence in myself, my self-esteem has increased. I don’t care what people think, ‘should I wear those leggings or that top?’, I just rock up and do what I’ve got to do.”

Woman doing a deadlift in a gym
Abbi’s deadlift personal best is 155kg

The sport isn’t funded so competitors have to pay for themselves.

She said: “Because it’s not funded I have to get funds myself. I know times are super tough, but anything would help. I have to pay for flights, accommodation and entry. It all tots up.

“I’m really competitive. I play softball for Panteg and swim for a masters club in Fairwater. I swam competitively from seven to 14, then took up rugby for a few years, and started it again until 2017. I pulled my back quite bad. I paid thousands of pounds to people to fix it. Lockdown meant I had to rest, that’s all I needed, rest. I started going back to the gym again.

“I have a coach in Cardiff. I had poor technique. She changed my technique and I went from 40kg to 100kg by learning to do things properly. It’s increased my confidence.  I’m happy to rock up to the bench and ask ‘how many reps you’ve got left?’.

“I’ve had people come over to me and say ‘I’ve seen you on Instagram doing some of your lifts’.”

She’s will compete in the 84+KG Women Classic Open. Her personal bests are 150kg squat, 90kg bench press and 155kg deadlift.

Sponsor Abbi to compete for Wales

If you can help Abbi email abbi1991@outlook.com or send a direct message via Instagram.

Watch a video of Abbi training

 

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A post shared by Abbi 👸🏻✌🏼 (@abbim21)

Follow Abbi on Instagram

You can follow her powerlifting journey on Instagram at @abbim21

 

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Torfaen powerlifter picked to represent Wales seven months after she took up the sport