KEIGHLEY’s weightlifting prospect steps on to the world stage in Houston next week with all eyes on the Rio Olympics at just 16 years of age.
Rebekah Tiler became her sport’s youngest ever British Senior Champion last May when winning the women’s 69kg category at just 15.
Fast forward 18 months and now the teenager is heading to the world championships in Houston as part of a three-pronged Yorkshire raid alongside Leeds lifters Jack Oliver and Sarah Davies.
Competition began with Tiler facing her first lift in the 57kg category on Wednesday, her elevation to the senior world stage coming just seven months after bagging silver at the World Youth Championships in April. Gold at the European Youth Commonwealths in September came in between.
This rapid progress has Tiler dreaming of Rio 2016, even if the teenager admits she will likely reach the peak of her powers for Tokyo 2020.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post from Houston this week, Tiler explained: “For us to qualify for the Olympics we need 64 points and hopefully we can get those 64 points. Hopefully I will get those points here at the world championship but there’s also qualifying at the European championships, though the main one is here. If not, British Weightlifting will choose two people who have been successful this year. Hopefully it is me they pick.
“I’m 17 on January 13 so I’d be 17 in Rio but I just say bring it on. It would be an amazing experience.
“I won’t get anywhere in terms of medals but it’s just good to be with all the top athletes and see how they train and everything. That would be really cool.
“I think 2020 will be my main focus and hopefully I will get a gold medal there.
“I think by then I will be lifting 130lbs snatch, hopefully a bit more, and then clean and jerk probably 150 or 160 or 170.
“At the moment I can snatch 100 and clean and jerk 126.
“The other competitors in my weight category can snatch around 110 but they are much older than me.
“I’ve still got a little bit to go yet but that’s what I’m hoping for and I think a gold in Tokyo is achievable.
“Hopefully I will be world champion and Olympic champion. That’s the dream.”
A few days to let the competition unfold before she enters the fray offers the Calderdale College pupil ample opportunity to explore her impressive surroundings.
Yet for Tiler, this year’s visit to the USA is actually a trip down memory lane with the teenager having previously lived in Florida where her parents first met.
“It’s been nice to come back!” laughed Tiler. “Houston is amazing and the hotel that we are staying in is really nice.
“It’s got a swimming pool on the top and a beautiful view from where I am staying because I am pretty much on the top floor. I can see all the city where I am from.”
At 16, Britain’s youngest champion can also see her entire sporting future ahead of her with excitement, not nerves, the overriding feeling ahead of her first worlds.
Tiler reasoned: “I’m nervous and excited, a bit of both, but more excited because it’s my first senior championships and I don’t know what to expect.
“Hopefully I can get into the top ten which would be really, really good. And to get PBs really. That’s what I want. I can’t wait to get on that platform and show them how to lift!”