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Record-breaking student weightlifter called up for Commonwealth Championships

Medical student Jonathan Chin lifting a British record of 168kg in the clean and jerkHook Grip

Jonathan lifting 129kg in the snatchHook Grip

Jonathan in scrubs and in front of a bar - the two places he is most likely to be foundJonathan Chin

Press release issued: 31 May 2023

A medical student who recently broke two British weightlifting records has been picked to represent England at the Commonwealth Championships.

Despite only starting weightlifting at 22, Jonathan Chin has won four consecutive English Championships and one British Championships

At the European Weightlifting Championships in Armenia last month, the 29-year-old broke a British record in his usual 73kg category, with a 168kg clean & jerk. He also snatched 129kg, giving him a record-breaking total of 297kg.

Weightlifters (sometimes called Olympic lifters) carry out two lifts. In the snatch, the bar is brought from the floor to above the head in one movement. In the clean and jerk they bring the bar to their chest, before pressing it above their head.

Jonathan competes alongside his studies as a medical student at the University of Bristol.

British Weightlifting has announced that Jonathan will be heading to the Commonwealth Championships in Delhi, India, in July. The Commonwealth Championships take place on each of the three years between Commonwealth Games, with many competitors going onto the Games.

Jonathan said: “I’m really excited about the Championships. I’ve competed for Team GB before but never for England, and I’ll be aiming for a medal. The Commonwealth Games in Australia are only a few years away – that could be a good one for me too.”

Jonathan began weightlifting in 2016 to recover from a double hamstring tear he sustained doing his first sporting love: sprinting.

In 2018, he won a bronze in the British Championships; only his second ever competition. In 2019 he won silver and in 2021 gold (there was no competition in 2020).

His success is more impressive given that many top lifters start in their pre-teens and peak in their mid-20s.

Jon said: “With sprinting, you’ve got six or seven guys next to you. But with weightlifting you are on your own, with the light shining down on you, and every person in the room looking at you – I found that more nerve-wracking.

“When you get the lifts right, the bar just floats up, it feels effortless. I’m quite meticulous so I love mastering the three movements: the clean, jerk and snatch.”

Jon trains five times a week, for up to 2.5 hours each time. He says after competitions and hard training sessions he feels like he’s been “hit by a bus”. He’s also been left “seeing stars” on several occasions after dropping the bar on his head.

Training around his medicine degree makes life “non-stop”, said Jon, who lives in Bristol and is currently on a hospital placement in Bath.

“As soon as clinic or lectures are over, I go straight to the gym and then go home to revise. I do have to sacrifice social engagements, particularly around competitions.

“I can still drink beer and eat pizza, but I have to be careful. I feel very fortunate to be in this position and I don’t know how long I can compete at this level. In a few years’ time I’ll resume normal life and I’ll do more normal people things.

“Right now, though, I don’t think I’m anywhere near my peak. I feel like I’m only getting better and better, and that’s exciting.”

Jonathan graduates from the University of Bristol next year and has a keen interest in ophthalmology (eye specialty).  He was recently awarded the Sandy Brown Ophthalmology prize by Bristol Medical School for his 3rd Year student choice research report.

Dr Jo Howarth, Co-Lead for the University of Bristol’s Medicine course, said: “Jonathan’s amazing achievement is testament to his dedication and his professional attitude to his studies, his patients and his sporting career.

“We are really pleased we have been able to support Jonathan to compete at such as high level alongside his medical studies, and we look forward to celebrating this and other highlights with Jonathan whist he is a medical student at Bristol.”

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