Gold means so much to Head
Shachar Head believes she has finally overcome her demons following her triumph at the World Powerlifting Championships.
The 16-year-old, who won the 70-80kg crown in Rockland last week, has had to roll with the punches after enduring a difficult year.
After her grandma passed away last April, Head began to lose her love for the sport and eventually split from her long-term trainer at her gym in Newton Abbot, Devon.
Her grandfather, who describes her as ‘an inspiration,’ was then rediagnosed with cancer, leaving the teenager heartbroken.
"When my grandma died in the April it really upset me," she told the JC.
"I didn't get to see her. She was so important to me. Then my grandfather’s cancer came back and that hit me really hard.
"He has been my main support through everything and I just wanted to do everything for him.
"At that time I was really struggling with my confidence and I didn’t like the way I was being treated at my old gym and was thinking about giving it all up.
"I wasn't making any huge improvements, wasn’t enjoying training and had really had enough of it all.
"I was worrying about my GCSE’s, my form and people telling me that I couldn’t compete in lifting because I wasn't good enough.
"It was a really difficult time for me."
After switching gyms and teaming up with new coach, Miles Leeson, Head began to get to grips with her problems and has not looked back since.
Head followed up her success in America by winning the New British Colleges and Universities title. A squat of 130kg was followed by a bench-press of 75kg followed by a deadlift of 160kg - a new personal best and world record total for her age of 365kg.
"Miles has been a blessing for me," she added.
"He sent me to a sports psychologist because I’ve always suffered with low confidence.
"I think that comes from being bullied at school but now I’ve shown I can overcome anything.
"My family has been wonderful and I’ve come through it.
"I got my GCSE's and I couldn’t have asked for anything more because they were great."
After returning from Rockland, Head visited her grandfather to share the good news after he was put into remission.
"He hadn't wanted anybody to tell him anything until I got home and when I showed him the gold medal he just started crying,” she said.
"He was so proud and so happy and that’s all I wanted because I did it for him."