Local woman Caroline Cunniffe pictured at the European Masters Classic Powerlifting Championships in Budapest.

Silver medal win for Moate powerlifter at European Masters

Local powerlifter Caroline Cunniffe recently added to her collection of international medals by winning silver at the European Masters Classic Powerlifting Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The Moate resident was competing in her fifth major international event since taking up powerlifting in 2016, having claimed a bronze at the World Masters in Canada last October.

She left the championships in Budapest knowing it hadn't been her best performance – but nevertheless she was delighted to have achieved the silver medal that had been her target for the competition.

Caroline was competing in the Masters 3, 57kg, category and in addition to the overall silver, she achieved silver in the deadlift event, and bronze in the squat and bench.

Caroline in action on February 28.

The trip didn't get off to an ideal start, as she arrived at the airport for her flight to Budapest and found out the ID card she had brought with her, which she thought was her Passport card, was, in fact, her driving licence. As a result, she missed her intended flight and instead had to fly out the following evening.

"I didn't arrive until 9 or 10 o'clock at night, and I was then competing the following day, which wasn't ideal," she said.

Her events were held on Tuesday, February 28, and she said the tiredness impacted her lifting on the day.

"Normally at an event like this I would be breaking my Irish records, but I equalled my Irish record in the squat and I failed my second and third bench, which I've never done before.

"It was 50kg, which I've done in training so many times, and it just wouldn't come up for me. But the other competitor who was up against me failed her second and third bench as well."

A newcomer to the category, Britain's Deborah Tiernan, was out in front in the gold medal slot, but Caroline said she was among a group of three who were all in contention for the silver, with the others coming from Britain and France.

"The deadlift is normally my good lift, and I had intended to go for 125kg, which is equal to my Irish record, but when it came to it I only needed 122.5kg to get the silver, so my coach said to go for that in order to be sure I'd definitely get it.

"So I went for the 122.5 which gave me silver in the deadlift and also silver overall, which was great."

The overall silver is an upgrade on the bronze medal Caroline won in her only previous appearance at the European Masters championships.

"I have been very lucky with how the international events have gone up to now. Every time I went to an international, I kept coming up in my numbers, and kept breaking Irish records, but life isn't like that.

"There's always going to be a day where everything isn't going to work in your favour. Having said that, I still got the silver medal, which was my goal going over there. It was my first time getting a silver overall, and it was nice to get that, even on a bad day!"

In addition to training at the Athlone Regional Sports Centre, Caroline trains on the weekends under coach Deividas Barisas at the ABS powerlifting gym in Finglas.

She now has her sights set on her next challenge, which will be the national championships that are taking place in ABS powerlifting on July 8.