ALEX Collier dreams literally of lifting a medal when he competes at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
The 23-year-old weightlifter, who is based at the Triple X Performance Centre in Stalybridge, is one of 12 to have qualified for the 85kg category class on April 4.
Alex, who can lift 140kg in the snatch and 170kg – almost double his body weight – in the clean and jerk, looked at his medal prospects.
He said: “I ought to be definitely in the top five or six. The gap between the ninth and fourth ranked competitors is only a few kilos.
“If I have a good competition, maybe I can push for a bronze medal.”
Alex, the top ranked English weightlifter, will be competing at his biggest-ever event.
He said: “I have competed in European and world championships and in Commonwealth Championships, but this is a lot bigger in terms of stature.
“I am nervous and excited as it is a lot different to those other events.”
Alex added he is going to the Commonwealths in good form as he has won two events in 2018 – the British and northern championships.
Alex, who headed to Australia a fortnight before the Games to acclimatise to the heat, has a head start over some of his rivals as he competed on the Gold Coast last year in the Commonwealth Championships.
“Unfortunately it was a bad competition for me as I hurt my knee in the clean and jerk,” he reflected.
Alex, who lives in Waterloo, Ashton, has had an eventful journey of nearly 11 years to reach this stage.
It began aged 13 when the Olympic Dragons weightlifting club from Ashton – it no longer exists – went into Hartshead School – now New Charter Academy – and conducted trials.
“I was good at it and joined the club,” explained Alex.
The next four years saw Alex make a meteoric rise as he competed in both the European and world championships in 2011.
Alex then had a 12-month break when he turned to another sport as he made the Great Britain track cycling sprint team.
He continued: “I wanted a break from weightlifting and emailed the British cycling coach and asked if he would take me under his wing.
“As a kid I had always been good on my BMX, but I never dreamed I would cycle professionally as I rode in the British Championships and World Development Cup.”
Alex, who became the second ranked junior British cyclist, returned to weightlifting in 2013 saying he missed the sport.
But the journey to the Gold Coast has not been without its setbacks as he missed the whole of 2014 and 2016 through shoulder and hip surgery.
Alex says injuries are a hazard of being a weightlifter, explaining: “You put you body under a lot of stress every day and injuries are therefore inevitable.
“I do a lot of recovery work to try and reduce the risk.”
But there have been moments to savour such as finishing fourth in the 2015 Commonwealth Championships that were held in India.
Alex’s training regime is punishing as he does four hours a day Monday to Friday in which he does hundreds of lifts as well as general fitness work.
As weightlifters don’t receive any official funding, Alex works Saturday and Sunday as a security guard at a mill in Stalybridge for money to live.
If any business would like to sponsor Alex, he can be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex also dreams of competing for Great Britain at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
After returning from Australia, Alex is taking some down time for the rest of the year when he intends to play rugby union for Aldwinians where he was a junior player between the ages of eight and 15.