Both Ben and Jess came to weightlifting by roundabout routes. Ben took it up by chance after he was asked to go along to a training session to keep a friend company. Jess, meanwhile, only took up weightlifting in 2017 after time as an elite competitor at gymnastics and then judo. Jess was twice a National Acrobatic Gymnastics Champion, before competing in judo at the 2015 Senior European Cup. Jess has now utilised her top-level multi-sport skills to create her own sports coaching business.
Ben Hickling said: “I saw someone else weightlifting, asked them who their coach was and the rest is history – but I never dreamed I would be competing at the Commonwealth Games! Weightlifting is a good fun way to keep fit, while helping to forget the stresses in life.
“Whether you want to compete, keep fit or just have fun, Brighton is a great place for sport and being active. The sports scholarship programme has given me the support I need to train and compete at the highest level while studying for my degree. Huge thanks to everyone at the University of Brighton for all their support.”
Jess Gordon-Brown said: “I'm really excited to be part of Team England. We have a really strong team this year - and it’s nice to be alongside fellow Brighton student Ben.”
On the University of Brighton staff side, meanwhile, Colin Paterson will also be heading to Birmingham as part of Team England for his fifth time working as a physiotherapist at the Commonwealth Games.
Colin Paterson, Principal Lecturer in the School of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Brighton, said: “I will be coordinating the physiotherapy aspect of the medical team for Team England, and also specifically supporting the weightlifting team. It will be great to follow through my work with Ben at University of Brighton at the Commonwealth Games. I am grateful for University of Brighton supporting me to attend the games in this role.”
You can follow Ben Hickling and Jess Gordon Brown on Instagram.