Kenmare local Caroline Birch became the first woman in Ireland to ever lift 100 kg Snatch in competition this week.
The event was a full-circle moment for Birch, who was visibly elated after her triumph which you can see in the video she posted to her Instagram account, @theirishliftingchick. Her first weightlifting competition took place four years ago in the same gym, Cork Weightlifting Club and now, she leaves her mark as a new record holder.
Birch told Her Sport that she started weightlifting as a form of rehab for injuries sustained while in Brazilian Jiu Jiutsu, her first competitive sport. She began to be coached by Olympic weightlifter Clarence Kennedy after a chance meeting.
Her latest achievement makes her competitive on an international level, and Birch has her sights set on the next Olympics. Unfortunately, the path ahead for her is not clear: Birch is still waiting on the naturalization process for her Irish citizenship.
"I had a very international upbringing, however my home has been Kenmare for the past 25 years... I've been told [the process] could take four years with the extra waiting time COVID and Brexit put on the system."
Birch holds a Dutch passport but explains to Her Sport that because she's never lived there and is over 27 she is not allowed to represent Holland at the Olympics either.
"This is a little heartbreaking," Birch admits, but clearly she hasn't given up on her goals: "I am on a mission to simply become undeniable."
Birch is certainly one to watch over the next few years as she continues to push boundaries.