Training at a gym in Broxburn while dreaming of the Commonwealth Games, Alice Aitchison is waiting for a life-changing opportunity to show the world what she can do.
The 22-year-old Alice Aitchison has been putting in the hard work to achieve her ambitions and is waiting to hear if she’s been selected for Team Scotland for the Games in Birmingham later this year.
A relative newcomer to weightlifting, Aitchison has rapidly risen to the top of the sport in this country and has dedicated herself to competing against the best, even if her schedule doesn’t leave time for much else.
“It impacts my life quite a lot,” she told STV. “Weightlifting is my social life.
“Being at the gym is the only other time I get to speak to people apart from work. It’s work and training, that’s it.
“Do everything you can to recover and fuel yourself for the next session.”
Balancing the demands of the sport against a full-time job hasn’t been easy but Aitchison has the backing of those around her and is sure of noisy support if she achieves her dream later this year.
“I train about 5 days a week, anywhere up to 4 hour sessions,” she said. “I work up at the Halfords in Livingston.
“It’s a relatively physical job, you are on your feet, building bikes and working on the cars. When I show my colleagues the videos they’re like ‘that’s crazy, what are you doing? You‘re going to hurt yourself’.
“There’s a lot of support from them. They’re already making jokes about closing the shop if I qualify for the Commonwealths and putting it on a big projector!’”
Aitchison should find out later this month whether she’s been selected for Team Scotland and is in a strong position as things stand. She admits that there would be a lot of emotion if she makes the cut.
“My next competition is in the Scottish Seniors in May,” she said. “That will be my last one before the Commonwealths, if all goes well for qualification on that. I should find out mid-March.
“Everything is sitting well at the moment so fingers crossed it stays like that. It would mean everything to qualify.
“It’s been three or four years hard work . A lot of tears. And it would be great to represent my home nation.”
One of Aitchison’s idols is Emily Campbell, who made history in Tokyo by becoming the first British woman to medal in weightlifting at the Olympic Games by securing silver. Meeting her and other high level competitors has been a lift as she aims to join them at the pinnacle of the sport.
Aitchison said: “For me, I look up to Emily Campbell, Sarah Davies, Emiuly Godley all them, seeing them going to the Olympics was absolutely fantastic.
“There’s an American lifter, Katherine Nye I absolutely love her as well.
“It’s nice that I got to meet Emily Campbell when I was down at the British. I’ve met Sarah Davies and I’ve spoken to Emily Godley a few times. The way they speak to you is so nice, they’re so encouraging.
“They’re like ‘You’re doing great, as long as you stick at it, you’ll do what you need!’”
The Under-23 European Championships last year gave Aitchison a taste of international competition. All eyes are now on stepping up and using the Commonwealth Games as a platform to lift to a whole new level.