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Weightlifter Tayla Hounsell sets British record in a sport he took up by accident, helped by Seoul 88 Olympian Matt Vine

Weightlifter Tayla Hounsell has a former Olympian in his corner as he looks to make it big in a sport he took up by accident.

Hounsell works with Matt Vine, a veteran of Seoul 1988, at Maidstone Weightlifting Club in Tovil.

By his own admission, the sport didn’t come naturally but the Valley Park pupil’s hard work paid off this summer when he set a British record in the under-15 55kg weight class with his 79kg clean and jerk.

It was a special moment for the teeanger who, with Vine’s help at the Bob Prowse Gym, wants to emulate his trainer by competing at the Olympics.

And, considering he fell into the sport, that would be some achievement.

“I was 10 when I started,” said Hounsell.

“It sort of happened by accident, I was in the right place at the right time.

“I was doing some freerunning at Pegasus gym and there was a weightlifting area next to it.

“I saw it and thought I could give it a try.

“I started with a broomstick, just to learn the technique, it didn’t come naturally to me but I stuck with it.

“It was a weird feeling to get the British record.

Tayla Hounsell with one of his coaches, Jordan Vine, son of ex-Olympian Matt Vine
Tayla Hounsell with one of his coaches, Jordan Vine, son of ex-Olympian Matt Vine

“It was mentioned to the crowd that I was going for it, so when I walked out on to platform everyone was cheering me on.

“All eyes were on me, it was quite daunting at first, but you get over it. You need a strong mindset, especially for weightlifting.

“Matt’s helped me with everything, he’s been with me the whole journey.

“I definitely want to go to the Olympics, he’s been there, so it’s very helpful to have him by my side.

“Having the right coach is a big part of the sport. I wouldn’t have reached the point I have without Matt.”

Hounsell competes in the British Weightlifting Championships in Harrogate at the end of November.

He’ll be looking to break both the snatch and total records in his weight class, and improve his clean and jerk record.

Coach Vine said: “Tayla has made great progress over the last few years and is a credit to our club.”

Vine’s son, Jordan, a multiple national champion, added: “Tayla works harder than everyone and it’s no surprise he’s doing so well. He has a very bright future ahead.”

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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