British Weight Lifting's Battle of the Barbell format aimed to expand the sport's appeal beyond its traditional athlete base ©BWL

National governing body British Weight Lifting (BWL) has launched a new competition aimed at widening the sport's appeal to strength athletes.

Known as "Battle of the Barbell", the inaugural edition was staged at National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, which staged weightlifting at last year's Commonwealth Games.

England's Emily Campbell won the women's over-87 kilograms title at Birmingham 2022, and was among those in attendance at the event.

Athletes were each given three minutes to complete as many clean and jerk lifts as they could, with point deductions in place for technically incorrect attempts.

Results took into account the number of repetitions, kilograms lifted and the Sinclair coefficient, which is used to compare different weight classes.

Karl McClean won the men's Battle of the Barbell and Pauline Maurin triumphed in the women's, each earning an Eleiko sit-up bench, BWL merchandise and a one-year membership of the governing body.

The men's podium was completed by Oliver Stidwell and Tony Robinson, with Emily Grimmett and Jeanette Badham placing second and third respectively in the women's event.

BWL chief executive Matthew Curtain hailed the launch of the competition.

"This was a great weekend for British Weight Lifting," he said.

"As part of our five-year strategy we want to educate, inspire and create greater opportunities that appeal to a more diverse and inclusive audience.

"This new concept competition is part of ensuring we achieve this, and we are delighted to have launched Battle of the Barbell and look forward to creating more opportunities for people to take part in it.

"Well done to all the competitors who took part, we hope to see you again soon."

The International Olympic Committee is set to decide on weightlifting's Olympic future from Los Angeles 2028 at its Session in November, having demanded a "change of culture" in the sport following repeated governance failures.