Zoe Newson aims for Paralympic qualification in Dubai

Record-breaking powerlifter Zoe Newson faces an all-or-nothing scenario when she travels to Dubai for a competition later this month.

The 19-year-old jets off to the United Arab Emirates on February 20 for the Fourth Fazaa International Powerlifting Competition knowing she will have to make the Paralympic qualifying standard to be in the Great Britain team for London 2012.

The qualifying mark is not yet known but Newson will be required to maintain or better her fifth place position in the International Powerlifting Committee rankings to qualify for the Paralympics.

She will compete buoyed by her performance in Cardiff last month at the IPC-approved UK Invitational Championships, a tournament that saw her wipe the floor with the competition in the Under 40kg class, breaking the European Junior record in the process by increasing her own previous record by 2.5kg.

“I managed to bench press 86kg and 88kg which broke the European record and I think my nearest rival only lifted 50kg,” said Newson, who turns 20 next month.

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“Sometimes it is easier to perform to a higher level if you lift well on your first attempt and that is what I managed to do in Cardiff.”

Suffolk Spartans member Newson jets out to the UAE on February 20, the day before the event, with members of her team.

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However, even if she performs well in Dubai, the former East Bergholt High School pupil will face an agonising wait to discover whether or not she has made the grade.

“It will be the final chance for me to qualify for the Paralympics so I am a bit nervous,” said Newson.

“I don’t know what the competition will be like in other events leading up to that, so I am not sure what the qualifying mark will be and we won’t find out if we have qualified until May or June time.

“I will just go out there and try get a personal best. I have been performing well so I am hopeful.

“Qualifying for the Paralympics would mean the world to me.”

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