Gallery: Parents’ pride at East Bergholt Paralympian’s powerlifting bronze

THE proud parents of Zoe Newson have spoken of their joy at their daughter’s sensational medal-winning Paralympic debut.

East Bergholt’s powerlifter Zoe went to her first Paralympic Games with the intention of doing herself proud while soaking up the home crowd atmosphere on the biggest stage.

But to the her delight she landed a bronze medal in her category - women up to 40kg - by lifting 88kg behind China’s Cui Zhe, who took silver, and

Turkey’s Nazmiye Muslu’s world-record setting gold medallist.

Parents Helen and Ricky Newson, who live in Askins Road in East Bergholt, were at the ExCel in east London on Thursday with their twin sons Sam and Ben, 24, cheering Zoe every step of the way.

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Mrs Newson, 48, said: “I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet.

“It was a bit of a surprise really. Of course we had hoped for a medal but realistically we thought the medals had all gone so the emotions came pouring out of Zoe, and us, when she won bronze.

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“With all the competitions Zoe has taken part in, I’ve never seen the kind of support she received and probably won’t see it ever again.

“The atmosphere definitely helped spur her on.”

She added: “As soon as Zoe came out for her medal ceremony in tears we all joined it.

“It was an incredible moment.”

The 20-year-old only, who is currently ranked number one in Europe and fourth in the world, began powerlifting after an army careers visit to her former school, East Bergholt High, when she was in Year 11.

The football-mad girl, who was born with dwarfism, took part in numerous sports competitions as a youngster including running, javelin, shot, discus, basketball, hockey and swimming.

Mrs Newson added: “Zoe was playing badminton in the sports hall and the army advisor said she should give powerlifting a try but she said she didn’t want to because she loves football. “I told her to give it a couple of weeks and she’s never really looked back.”

For the past five years Zoe has dedicated her life to powerlifting training, which in turn meant she had to give up football and athletics.

Since qualifying for the Paralympic Games in Dubai in February, she has trained six days a week to ensure she was at her best to appear on the biggest stage of her life.

Nrs Newson paid tribute to her daughter’s coaches for their part in getting her to the position she is in today.

“A huge thankyou has to go to Zoe’s coaches, Louise Pennell and Dan Collins,” she added.

Zoe is remaining in the Paralympic Village for the duration of the competition until September 11.

“Zoe is really lucky that her event was so early on. Now she can really enjoy the rest of the Games and why should she want to come home early?”

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