Meet the strongest 40+ English woman, a teacher from Ipswich

Charlie Close, from Ipswich, has been crowned England's Strongest Natural Woman 2021. Picture: Sara

Charlie Close, from Ipswich, has been crowned England's Strongest Natural Woman 2021. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The strongest English woman 40+ is a teacher from Ipswich, who only began training just a few years ago. 

Charlie Close came first for England's Strongest Woman in its master's category this year while balancing her time as a teacher of drama at Kesgrave High School. 

Charlie Close, from Ipswich, has been crowned England's Strongest Natural Woman 2021. Picture: Sara

Charlie Close is also a teacher at Kesgrave High School - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mrs Close may have always been sporty doing trampolining, badminton, and netball but it was really after the birth of her girls, now seven and 10, that inspired her to get into weightlifting in 2018. 

"I know that I'm getting a bit older," she said. "My girls love seeing it and say my mum's really strong and it's really important for them to see that women are. 

"They're my cheerleaders as well.


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"If they see people pushing outside their comfort and seeing someone like me training to keep themselves fit and motivated, they can [know they can] do things too and get stuck in. 

"It's okay to be worried about trying something but give it a go and see." 

Charlie Close, from Ipswich, has been crowned England's Strongest Natural Woman 2021. Picture: Sara

Charlie Close is 5 ft 3 in - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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Her Husband Wayne Close also competes in strongman competitions, which helped her get further into the sport. 

"My family has been so supportive," she added. 

"I had no idea where to start in the beginning."

She also hopes it inspires pupils at Kesgrave High School that they can do anything at whatever age. 

"Pushing and building yourself up and training for a goal is important," the 41-year-old added. 

She also has to balance her work with training. 

"I go to work, come home make the kids dinner, then train," she said.

Mrs Close also explained she has lifted many objects at championships but will not be lifting anyone she knows, any time soon. 

"I might drop them," she said. 

She felt it was "tough" during lockdown when she did it at home but had still managed to qualify for other weightlifting events. 

Charlie Close, from Ipswich, has been crowned England's Strongest Natural Woman 2021. Picture: Sara

Charlie Close, from Ipswich, has been crowned England's Strongest Natural Woman 2021. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"Sport is my outlet; my mental and physical health depends on the time I give myself in the gym and making progress towards my own personal challenges and goals," she added. "I love the training but not the bruises I get from some of the events."

She has also come second at Britain's Strongest Woman (Masters Category) 2021 and has qualified for World Heavy Events Association European Championships on 25 September in Swansea and the WHEA World Championships in Finland in December. 

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