Cwmbran woman who skipped PE lessons enters Wales’ Strongest Woman

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A Cwmbran woman has entered Wales’ Strongest Woman competition and wants to inspire others to lift weights and get strong.

Kirsty Robathan-Smith, 34, will take part in the national competition on Saturday 30 March at Trago Mills in Merthyr.

She told Cwmbran Life she has changed from being someone who would skip PE lessons in school to falling in love with lifting weights.

“During lockdown, I lost 30kg from lifting weights and walking the dog.

“I had a health kick and wanted to get my health sorted. I came out of lockdown and had one of those epiphany moments where I was just going to try loads of different things.

“I learned how to do Olympic weightlifting. It went as far as axe throwing and climbing.”

The 4ft 11inch NHS digital worker hasn’t always been a fan of sport and keeping fit.

“In school, I would write a note to get out of PE. If any of my PE teachers knew what I was going to be doing this weekend they would laugh,” she said.

“I had a moment last year. When I saw Wales’ Strongest Woman come up in December, I booked to do it and here I am about to compete in the under 64kg lightweight category.

“As soon as someone put a weight in my hand I found something I loved. I’ve just fallen in love with lifting weights. And I can confirm that you don’t get bulky. I went from size 16-18 to size six so you don’t get bulkier or bigger. But I am now trying to put on muscle.”

Pulling an eight-tonne truck

Kirsty will compete in five rounds to find out who is the strongest woman in Wales. She will do shuttle runs carrying three kegs weighing 40kg and 50kg, and pull an eight-tonne American truck at least 20 metres.

Her family, friends, coaches and the weightlifting community support her: “They’re all incredibly supportive. My mum and dad are super proud. My dad is an uber-feminist. They love that kind of thing.

“My dad’s always there filming and posting things [on social media]. My husband loves it. He comes to the gym and we get lots of comments from his teammates at Girlings RFC.

“There is a lovely community with it all, particularly with us women. It’s a supportive place to be. We know what we have to do to lift such heavy things and we’re always wanting others to lift heavy.

“When I was a little girl, I never saw a girl like me doing this. If any of us women [competing this weekend] can inspire women and show them that it’s the norm, that’s what we want.”

Kirsty has Crohn’s disease and may have weaker bones (osteoporosis) as she gets older. She finds lifting weights brings lots of benefits.

She said: “It’s doing everything to push that down the road as much as I can. It’s everything to keep you fit and healthy. I focus on keeping well. It really does help with my mental health.”

You can follow her on Instagram at @getrobofit

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