Off to see some powerful lifting

A FELIXSTOWE couple are going to Manchester to judge a Commonwealth Games event.Alper and Rosemary Ali, of Quilter Road, are going to the northern city to officiate the disabled powerlifting event.

A FELIXSTOWE couple are going to Manchester to judge a Commonwealth Games event.

Alper and Rosemary Ali, of Quilter Road, are going to the northern city to officiate the disabled powerlifting event.

They said they were excited and hoped all the competitors would make it to the event as a number of them had called the couple to tell them how nervous they were.

Rosemary, the more experienced judge of the two, who was the first woman to qualify as a judge in the sport, will be over-looking the administrative aspects of the tournament as an International paralympic delegate on Saturday August 3.

She will be responsible for checking details such as the weights and conditions at the event, while Alper, a retired Olympic bronze medallist in the sport, will be watching the powerlifters carefully to see if the lifts are legal.

There should be 17 powerlifters from seven countries at the Games and each one will be given two minutes to get set themselves up on the bench, which they lie on, before they are given three chances to lift the weights.

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Alper, who has been disabled since he was three, will be one of three judges at the event. He will stand at one side of the competitor to keep an eagle eye on how the weights are lifted and if the head rises from the bench, which would make the lift illegal.

He then has to press a white or red button to signify whether the lift was correctly carried out.

The couple, who have two children, Becky, 16, and Adam, 19, and a cat from the Blue Cross centre called Felix, set off today and will stay in the purpose-built village.

Rosemary said she was not optimistic about the event being screened on the BBC because it is one of the last events at the Games. She said the sports journalist would probably be too busy totting up figures and drawing up statistics before the closing ceremony on Sunday August 4 to televise their event.

But she said that if it was screened, viewers should watch out for one of the two male English powerlifters, Nick Slater, at 7pm on the Saturday. He has a body weight in excess of 100kg, won a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and can lift 235kg, which is the equivalent of a Mini car.

Rosemary had to train and gather five years experience before she got to this high level of paralympic judging. She is also involved in coaching and training and is a qualified teacher of swimming for disabled people. The two have been all around the world including Dubai to judge and enter in to international contests.

Rosemary has become a favourite and well-known feature of the power-lifting event after arranging an international event in Wolverhampton in 1991 from her kitchen table which unexpectedly attracted around 100 competitors from 18 countries. This was soon after she set up the British Disabled Power Lifting Association with the help of her husband.

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