Commonwealth Games: Wales weightlifter Amy Salt explains her battle through pain barrier

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales
Weightlifter Amy Salt is the Welsh women's number one in the 76kg weight class
2022 Commonwealth Games
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with extra streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

The Commonwealth Games experience is not always about medals. Wales weightlifter Amy Salt has been the epitome of that in Birmingham this week.

Salt did not manage a podium position but pushed herself to the physical limit which resulted in a back injury and a visit to hospital.

The Wrexham-born athlete, 29, who represents Wythenshawe Weightlifting Club, was competing in the women's 76kg weight class at the NEC.

Salt had been struggling with a hip injury before the competition but was desperate to compete after missing out on the Gold Coast four years ago because of a fractured back.

After lifting 86kg in the snatch section, Salt was struggling but bravely decided to make her third and final attempt to stay in the competition.

After completing her lift - which was ruled a foul lift by the judging panel - she fell to her knees in pain after attempting to exit the main stage.

She was treated next to the stage for more than 10 minutes by medical staff before being taken to hospital.

"It is not what I dreamt of but I'm still delighted I ended up even stepping on the platform," said Salt.

"After all the injuries I've had I was happy to be there. In the lead up to it, I had a hip tear and knew I didn't feel very good.

"I broke my back last Commonwealth games and thought I don't want to pull out again. I knew my back wasn't fractured this time, so I was going to go.

"My hip was feeling okay so I thought I'll start pushing the weights and see what happens.

"Then I did an 86 kilo snatch and my hip was not happy at all, so I started limping and later in the warm-up my back started to hurt.

"For the clean and jerk I thought lets open light. I was not going to be in with a chance of a medal anymore I'm just going to get a total.

"My back went in to spasm after the first lift. I thought I've got to go out again otherwise I'm not going to get a total.

"It is the first Commonwealth Games I've been to and I wanted to get a total.

"I went out and did it and they didn't give it to me and I was absolutely gutted.

"Then my back went completely and I ended up going to A&E."

Weightlifter Amy Salt is the Welsh women's number one in the 76kg weight class

A visit to hospital was not on the agenda but she was eventually discharged later that night.

"I went to get checked, the Welsh medics and physio were amazing and with me the whole time," Salt added.

"They sent me to A&E on a board which was no fun. Having your head all strapped together on a board, they didn't know whether I had fractured it again.

"I was on the board for about three hours which is why my back was completely ceased up.

"I was there a few hours because they put me on morphine and I was not very well.

"I got scanned and when we realised it was a tear and a disc bulge on a nerve it was like a big sigh of relief because it wasn't the same injury.

"I'm thankful I'm on crutches rather than in a wheelchair and it will rehab a lot quicker than last time and the injury is minor in comparison to 2017.

"They asked me to stay the night but I just wanted to go home and be in bed although I unfortunately had to leave the village because I couldn't go to the toilet on my own.

"I wasn't expecting my teammates to be caring after me when they are off wanting to have a pint.

"I am not walking properly and everything is still ceasing up but I am ok and the rehab starts now."

Despite her experiences, Salt insists she has no regrets about competing.

"I wouldn't change trying to push the weights because it was my one opportunity and I had been waiting eight years to do it," she added.

"I knew there was a chance going in to it my back was going to go again but I still would have done the exact same thing.

"I had the best time and represented Wales and that's all I ever wanted to do. A lot of the public got behind me.

"It's very easy to see the successes and brilliance that happens at these Games but those moments are few and far between.

"You don't realise the amount of pain and sacrifice that goes into it.

"I work a full-time job and train six days a week, four hours a day to get there and then when I did get there things didn't go my way.

"Nothing was standing in my way of trying to leave everything on that platform be it a make or break kind of thing. And I broke.

"I sacrificed eight years of my life to do it and I don't regret a second of it. I would go through this pain 10 more times to do it all again, it was worth it."

So with another long period of rehabilitation on the horizon will that be it now for Salt and weightlifting?

"It is hard to say because it has only been a few days," she added.

"My family and physio hope it is because it's the second back injury and you've got to think about your health and whether it is all worth it in the long-term.

"It is not the way I wanted to leave the sport so that is also in my head.

"I knew I was capable of winning a medal after looking at the results.

"It is a hard pill to swallow and not a nice way to leave the sport after eight years.

"So I am just not sure."

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