A BOLTON mum is powering on in her bid to reach the top in the world of bench press.

Emma Stott, aged 43, from Breightmet secured the biggest win of her career when she took gold in the Commonwealth Powerlift and Bench Press Championships for 2017.

She was crowned Masters One 63kg champion after a personal-best lift of 70kg at the championships in Potchestroom, South Africa, her performance earning her the award of second-best lifter in her age group over all the weight categories.

The Masters One category is for ages 40-49 with the highest age category being Masters Four for ages 70-79.

Stott, who is sponsored by Wainhomes, was overjoyed at competing for England which whet her appetite for earning more representative honours.

“The whole experience was fantastic,” she said. “I was quite nervous because it was the first time I had represented England but I couldn’t have performed any better.

"I’m just getting stronger and stronger. I would love to represent the UK at some point.”

As well as being Commonwealth champion, she also holds the English deadlift record and the North West overall total record for her class within her federation.

The impressive accolades have not come without personal sacrifice, though, as she has had to devote much of her time to reach the top.

The quantity surveyor first started lifting weights four years ago at Total Fitness gym.

Finding she enjoyed it she discussed trying her hand in competitive lifting and entered the Lancashire and Cheshire Championships for North West Powerlifting.

She finished second despite only having had five months' training and, encouraged by her performance and progress, she introduced a gruelling training regime which involved two-and-a-half-hour training sessions over five days a week at The Strength Factory gym in Westhoughton.

“It’s quite time consuming so I have to rely on my partner quite a lot,” said Stott who followed up her Commonwealth victory by coming third in the British Masters last month.

She says the hard work is worth it and she has seen a growth in the number of women taking part in powerlifting, bench pressing and deadlifting.

“Surprisingly more and more women are turning to powerlifting as it really improves your confidence," she said.

“The sport is so popular at the moment. We even get ladies still going strong in their 60s and 70s.

"It is different to body building as you keep fit without getting too bulky. The camaraderie is great and it’s quite addictive to try and lift heavier weights.”