Something that has always amazed me is the strength the human body is capable of possessing. Watching people throw around twice their own body weight can be mesmerising and as a women and feminist, seeing females do this is all the more impressive. Now this is not because I believe women to be relatively weaker than men or because I see them as any less capable. No, it’s purely that I find it inspiring to see them excel in a sport that has been so male dominated for such a long time. Because of this ridiculous and out-dated assumption that weightlifting is a “mans sport” (no such thing), you may find yourself unaware that Glasgow University has it’s very own women’s weightlifting team as part of the weightlifting club (GUWC). And here is why it should be on your list of stalls to visit at the freshers sports fare.
As a female entering the Stevie it may seem intimidating venturing down to the weights room, filled with testosterone fuelled “gym lads” seemingly hogging the racks and mats. However understandable this is, it is most likely all in your head and should not be a reason to not go to any part of the gym you wish to. This brings me to reason number one to try your hand at weightlifting. By joining the club, which is filled with like-minded and supportive females, it will give you the confidence to go into the gym, march up to that squat rack and well, squat. Alice Francis-Freeman is this years women’s captain, and has only words of praise for the community the club holds, “ making friends with other weightlifters, should help you feel more comfortable in the gym… Our members are very chatty and we will do our best to put you at ease”. She also praises the club on being very sociable and “like a big family”, something that as a fresher will be a very reassuring environment to walk into.
The second reason is one that should not be underestimated. With mental health issues in young people and particularly students on a steep incline, it is a better time than ever to take up a new sport. Alice states, GUWC has two welfare officers whose role it is to deal with members concerns, including personal struggles in order to be a person to talk to in times of need. Besides the obvious, keeping physically fit, it is also a great way to make reliable friends that will always be there to support you.
Finally the third reason is personal achievement. In sport women are often overlooked or seen as outperformed by men. But this is rarely actually the case. This club is no stranger to success, having competed in the Scottish university powerlifting championships in April and winning they were invited to the world university cup in Prague. Here they took away 3 golds, 1 silver and 3 bronze medals. Alice says that an incredible performance on the final day, resulted in Glasgow university placing first in the world and winning the World University Cup. This will hopefully be on the cards for next year, so if you think you’ve got what it takes to contribute you could be in for taking part in some very high performing sport.
So whether you are a regular powerlifter, or you simply want to try out a new sport and make some life long friends in the process, check out GUWC. You’ll be welcomed into a warm family who will help you in battling the sexist myths, and proving that women are just as capable as men at any sport if they set their minds (and muscles) to it.
Interviewed: Alice Francis-Freeman
-Laura Hanna, Sports and Wellbeing Editor