AN Antrim power-lifter is on the road again, preparing to travel to the other side of Europe for her next big competition.
In June, Chloe-Jade McDonald was Ireland’s first World Open medallist and is now looking to add another to her collection later this month.
In just a few weeks time, ‘CJ’ will be off to the IPF European Championships in Lithuania.
She said: “I am honoured and extremely thankful to receive an invite from the Irish Powerlifting Federation and can’t wait to get on the platform again!”
The European Powerlifting Federation and Lithuanian Powerlifting Federation event will begin on November 24 and run to December 2.
The competition will welcome 493 athletes, 278 male and 215 female from 29 nations to Kaunas – the second largest city of Lithuania.
It will be held in the amphitheatre of the largest arena in Kaunas, situated in the island of the biggest Lithuanian river Nemunas in the very heart of the city.
Less than 10 minutes’ walk by feet from the arena lies the longest pedestrian street in Eastern Europe called ‘Alley of Freedom’.
Thirty Lithuanian lifters will take part in the European Classic Powerlifting Championships.
CJ was introduced to the world of powerlifting by her fiancé and after putting up numbers in the gym that were immediately comparable to some of the best lifters in the country, she entered (and won) her first competition and since then her passion and love for the sport has grown immeasurably.
CJ mainly trains at Strength Militia Belfast but can also be found throwing the iron around at the Antrim Forum.
She jetted off to the World Championships in June, which were held in Calgary, Canada, along with two of her training pals with Strength Militia, Sean Ferran and Bronagh McPeake, who also qualified.
CJ used to play rugby, competed in athletics and has been well-known in local hockey circles for the last 16 years, so she is no stranger to the gym.
She is the current -57kg National champion and holds a number of Irish records including a phenomenal 163kg deadlift record.
Her rise in the sport has been nothing short of meteoric, as she continues to juggle her intensive training schedule with a career as a psychiatric nurse as well as her duties as Randalstown Hockey Club's senior captain.
“Anyone that knows me knows that I love sport and competing at a high level,” she said.
“I took up powerlifting in 2016 when I was encouraged to enter a 'rookie meet' which I went on to win.
“I became completely hooked on the sport and the challenges it presented me with.
“Over the last two years I have set out goals and devoted much of my time to achieving these.
“Powerlifting is my own personal battle and my competitiveness is motivating in itself.
“I spent a lot of time looking at others around me when I first got into the sport and seeing so many strong, successful women is a constant motivation to be on that level.”