East Bergholt/Ipswich: Suffolk star Zoe Newson powers her way to Paralympic bronze

SUFFOLK’S Zoe Newson only came to London with the intention of getting a taste of the atmosphere but in front of a pumping Excel crowd she claimed a sensational Paralympic bronze in the –40kg powerlifting.

The 20-year-old was making her debut on the biggest stage but did not seem fazed as she produced the goods on her final lift, her effort of 88kg enough to move her up one place and into the medals.

It looked as though Newson, from East Bergholt, had already managed the lift with her second attempt, only for it to be controversially overruled as a no lift, leading to a protest from the British coaching team.

That was unsuccessful, but with the knowledge that a failure would end her hopes of a medal Newson produced a fantastic lift to earn a spot on the podium.

And despite the nerves of the occasion she admitted it was the support of a vociferous crowd which made all the difference before her all-important third attempt.

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She said: “It was incredible. The crowd just pump you up so much, they get behind you and it really helps you getting stronger during the competition. I was really nervous before my third lift after missing my second one.

“I didn’t think I’d locked out properly on my second lift but my coach disagreed and protested. I didn’t really know what was going on but my coach was obviously convinced. In the end it didn’t matter, though, I got the result I was after.”

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While Newson was hugely impressive in picking up a medal in her first Games, there was another superstar in the competition as Turkey’s Nazmiye Muslu broke the world record on her way to gold, lifting 106kg.

Muslu was in a league of her own in the competition but for Newson it was a hugely promising display given her lack of experience.

She added: “I was really up for just getting a personal best in this, it was my first Games so anything more than that was always going to be a bonus.

“I just wanted to enjoy the atmosphere. It means the world to me getting a bronze. It pays off all the hard work, everything I’ve done in the build up to this, it makes it worthwhile.

“It’s incredible to think that I’ve done all this in my first Games, it’s really unexpected but I’m so happy.”

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