Veteran BGWLC weightlifter Patrick Atteridge is the second Bethnal Green lifter to be profiled in our Legends pages. Pat has lifted at Bethnal Green since 1972, and coached weightlifting there until 2007. He still visits the gym regularly to train, and occasionally coach a select group of masters weightlifters.
How long have you been lifting, and what made you decide to start?
I got into weight training initially after contracting at blood disease. When I came out of hospital I only weighed 6 stone and wanted to build myself up. I started training at a gym in Peckham in 1970, and in 1971 coach Ray Cornish suggested I try weightlifting. In 1972 I started lifting at Bethnal Green under coach George Manners. My first competition was the same year, where I won the Home Counties Juniors, & qualified for the British Juniors. Unfortunately I bombed out of that competition, but went on to win the under-23s later on that year.
Tell us some of your competition history
I lifted for Great Britain at 2 internationals in the 1970s – GB vs Denmark in 1973, and GB vs Morocco in 1975.
I stopped working in 1975 to try for the 1976 Montreal Olympics, but unfortunately wasn’t selected. Then I stopped lifting altogether due to family commitments. But in 1978 I came back to Bethnal Green and began coaching.
In 1997 I started competing again, in the masters division. I won gold at the World Masters Games 2002 in Melbourne, and at the European Masters in 2007. I’ve taken 13 other silver & bronze medals in World & European championships.
You’ve been successful as a coach as well as a lifter. Who are some of the greats you’ve coached?
I both trained & taught weightlifting in Dalston from 1978-2001, and coached at Bethnal Green until 2007. At the moment I teach weightlifting in Hackney.
Giles Greenwood, Commonwealth Games medallist.
Denise Ramsay-Overall, Olympic athlete, representing Trinidad and Tobago.
Juliana Auguste, who lifted at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Dyana Altenor, Jennifer Maysmor-Gee, Sonia Stevens & Heather Allison – all top-ranked British seniors & masters, with a clutch of metals and titles between them.
Karl Grant, who lifted at the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
Mark Welch, Andy Joy and my brother John Atteridge, all British seniors & masters.
Name some lifters you admire
I’ve always thought that with enough training, I could be as good as anyone else. I looked up to other lifters, but believed I could be as good as anyone if I worked hard enough.
Two weightlifters I took inspiration from were Jimmy Beeching, and of course Eddie Pengelly.
What are your personal bests, and your favourite lift?
In training, and in the 60kg class (as it was then) – 155kg back squat, 105kg bench (without any specific training), 205kg deadlift (again, without specific training), 92.5kg snatch and 122.5kg clean & jerk.
In competition, 90kg snatch and 120kg clean & jerk.
My favourite lift is the clean and jerk.
What do you like about training at Bethnal Green?
Originally, the standard of lifters was very high, so you were encouraged to improve by the people around. I always felt I was playing catch-up & was dragged up by the standard of the others. You had to be outstanding to stand out among the lifters at Bethnal Green.
Today, I think the gym has a lovely atmosphere, and it encourages a feeling like you want to achieve among the others. I still like to see a good lift performed well, and you’ll see that at Bethnal Green.