Jun 19 2008 By Gordon May
TEENAGE weightlifter Amy Hamilton hopes to muscle in on this year's Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India, after being crowned the first 'Athlete of the Month' by the Scottish team's sponsors.
Amy, from Knightswood, can lift almost one-and-a-half times her own bodyweight and is a valued member of the squad which comprises over 40 athletes after enjoying a highly successful 2007.
She represented Great Britain in the European Youth Championships and became British Champion at junior (under 20), under 18 and under 17 levels.
So far this year she has defended her junior title and become British Schools Champion.
And this month she picked up the athlete of the month honour, complete with £300 reward, from team sponsors Clydesdale Bank, the Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) and the team's nine participating governing bodies of sport.
Amy's success has come just two years after starting the sport. She discovered weightlifting whilst training at the Glasgow School of Sport at Bellahouston Academy as an acro-gymnast Combining the excitement of circus acrobatics with the skill and precision of gymnastics, acro is a team event where partners counterbalance each other to perform acrobatic feats.
As the strongest of her acro-gymnastics trio, Amy was literally the base of the tower for her team mates.
Speaking at her club, the Palace of Arts Weightlifting Club, where she received her award last Friday, she said: "I could be in the splits whilst holding two people above me which takes strength, power and balance, the same things you need as a weightlifter "My gymnastics career was going well but coaches told me I had better prospects as a weightlifter.
"It's more of an individual sport and it's about how hard you can push yourself. So there's more personal achievement than in gymnastics where there were three of us in one partnership, where everyone had to be at their best to be most productive."
Athletic and sleek through weightlifting Amy has reduced her weight from 63 kilogrammes to a current, trim 55kg.
She said: "People often say to me 'you don't look like a weightlifter', then when I ask them what a weightlifter is supposed to look like they say 'manly and muscular'. I say that's bodybuilding."
For all her grace and poise retained from gymnastics, Amy can lift astonishing amounts of weight.
Her best snatch - throwing the bar from floor to above her head in one movement - is 60kg (nine and a half stone).
Her clean and jerk - a two part lift from the floor to shoulders then overhead - is up to 71kg (just over 11 stone).
Ray Cavanagh is the coach who guides Amy through as many as two training sessions a day, six days a week.
He said: "Amy is naturally strong and flexible, and has progressed very quickly to get to this standard and she's as motivated as they come."
The Commonwealth Youth Games take place in Pune, India, on October 11 to 18.
The Scottish team, to be announced on August 21, will comprise over 40 athletes from nine sports (athletics, badminton, boxing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling) together with 16 support staff.
These athletes are already looking to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.