A HELSTON woman who only took up powerlifting in February has won a silver medal for Great Britain.

Catherine Croydon, of Coverack Bridges, has returned from Finland after competing in the World Powerlifting Congress European Championships in Helsinki.

"I honestly thought that they would laugh at how pathetic I was. Nations like Russia and Finland have reputations for producing really strong competitors, so I was really happy to win silver."

Powerlifting can comprise three disciplines - bench press, squat and dead lift - but Catherine tore cartilage in her knee in an unfortunate accident three months ago and was unable to take part in the dead lift.

She held her nerve to finish second in the bench press, pushing 102.5kg to take silver behind a Slovakian woman and beat a Finnish competitor into third.

Having been a regular visitor to the gym, the 26 year-old wanted to be a part of Bodypower, a bodybuilding exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham in May.

She began by entering a local competition at Kernow Gym in Pool. She followed that with a competition in Barnstaple, at which she lifted 90kg in April, before winning a trophy for a 95kg lift at Bodypower in the following month.

Catherine last week headed over to Helsinki on her own and befriended another GB competitor, whom she asked to spot for her in the competition.

"It was quite intimidating because the other competitors try and get into your head. They were whispering to each other and coming over to my practice bench. That sort of thing doesn't happen in this country but it does in Finland."

Catherine, who works at Andy's Barbers in Helston, now has her sights set on a good performance at the British Championships in Bristol, in eight weeks' time.

If she manages a top two finish there, she will be selected for the World Championships in Florida, America.