As we continue during Armed Forces Week to showcase some of our soldiers, today we celebrate the success of two female Signallers who are powerlifting world champions.
On the first weekend in June, Captain Michelle Margrie competed at the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation (WDFPF) championships in Italy.
She became the Single Lift under 80kg Bench Press World Champion and Under 80kg Runner-up in Deadlift (First in Masters One age category).
Having just returned from the multinational Exercise Warfighter in Texas, where she was the Quartermaster (Technical) of 3 (UK) Division Signal Regiment, Michelle took part in her first world championships earlier this month, just 16 months after taking up the sport.
Michelle, aged 43, from Lincoln, has also competed in Ironmen competitions and the Army Triathlon.
She joined the Royal Corps of Signals in 1996 as a Telecommunications Technician (Radio) before commissioning as a Late Entry Officer in 2019.
Michelle has regularly represented her unit and Corps at Cross Country and Triathlon and has completed the annual Signals’ 40-mile endurance race, the Lanyard Trophy, and Ironman UK.
After being introduced to powerlifting, she took part in her first Army competition in February 2022 and was part of the Army team that competed in the UK Armed Forces Championships last July at HMS Raleigh.
She joined the civilian British Drug Free Powerlifting Association (BDFPA), winning the national single lift championships in her category in March this year. This secured her place at the world championships in June.
“I have always been active and dedicated to my training whether that has been running, cycling or powerlifting. I take huge satisfaction from chasing the numbers and trying to improve myself.
“Winning the world championships is a huge achievement and, although I am relatively late to the sport in terms of my age, it is proof you are never too old to try something new.
“The Army Powerlifting Union is hugely supportive and inclusive. I am proud to be part of that and hope to encourage others to take up this fantastic sport in the future.”
Winning the world championships is a huge achievement and, although I am relatively late to the sport in terms of my age, it is proof you are never too old to try something new. Captain Michelle Margrie, Royal Corps of Signals
Michelle, who has two children, and has served on operations in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq says,
“It’s hard being a mother in the Army but it’s fulfilling and rewarding at the same time.
“I hope that I have shown other serving mums it is possible to be successful at work, in sport and at home.”
Michelle’s success in Sardinia comes soon after another Signals soldier, Lance Corporal Bethany Thomas, became the WDFPF Junior under-70Kg Full Power World Champion.
After returning from an adventurous training expedition to Peru, Beth took part in her first world championship in November 2022, only a year after starting the sport.
Beth, aged 23, from Bournemouth, trains five times a week on top of her military physical fitness routine.
She joined 22 Signal Regiment in Stafford in October 2019 where she works as an Information Systems Engineer.
Always a very sporty and active person who regularly worked out at the gym, Beth discovered powerlifting through Instagram and joined the Army Ladies' Powerlifting Union to find out more.
After taking part in a few Army competitions, she joined the civilian BDFPA, winning the national competition last April which qualified her for the world championship in November.
“I have a real passion for powerlifting and genuinely love competing. From an early age, I've always liked feeling strong and just watching myself become physically and mentally stronger is so satisfying.
“Winning the world championships is a huge achievement. I felt ecstatic and lost for words. I've put in a lot of hard work in the past year, despite having a few injuries which set me back, but I managed to pull through and continue working hard.
“This year, I would like to explore the sport further and compete in a different federation."
Michelle and Beth are just some of the many elite sportswomen in the British Army.
At last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Corporal Megan Reid, Royal Logistic Corps, reached the round of 16 in the 60kg Boxing category.
Megan had previously competed for Team Scotland at the World Championships and European Championships.
Also at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Corporal Sarah Hawkes, Royal Military Police, narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the Women’s 78+kg Judo category for Northern Ireland.
The success of these soldiers shows the importance and value the Army attaches to sport.
Sport helps to prepare soldiers for operations by enhancing physical fitness, mental resilience, leadership, and teamwork.
Whilst competitive, sport is an enjoyable part of service life for many soldiers.
For Michelle and Beth, it’s a case of ‘Watch out powerlifting world, we’re coming for you!’