YORK weightlifter Bryn Jones has been named as the British Weightlifting Masters Lifter of the Year for 2020.

Jones won the British Masters in March and followed that up by claiming the European Masters Olympics Championships in November.

The 59-year-old, who competes in the 55 to 60 age category, was named as the Masters Lifter of the Year, which covers all competitors over the age of 35.

Dringhouses-based Jones said: "I had no idea that I'd been nominated and it was news to me when one of my weightlifting buddies said 'Congratulations'.

"Then I received the notification from British Weightlifting. I was really pleased to have won it - it's the first year that I've won it.

"But, it's been a very funny year. I've been injured, so I've had to patch myself together and train when I could.

"I've done a couple of online competitions. The British Masters took place just before Covid, which I won, and then lockdown came pretty much straight after that.

"Then came the Europeans, which was online, and that was just before the lockdown before Christmas.

"I won the Worlds two years ago in Barcelona and that was great, but I'd never won the Europeans, so I was really chuffed to have won that.

"I'm really pleased with the year but I've not been at my very best and hopefully my injuries will get better and things will get even better."

Like all sportsmen and women over the past year, Jones' training schedule was thrown on its head when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

"Lockdown has killed training," he explained. "I usually go down to Ultra Flex in York but that was closed, so the training that I've done for the competitions took place between the lockdowns.

"I really worked hard in the gym between those periods and that was sufficient to build up the strength and the agility I needed for the competitions online.

"But, it's been difficult though."

As a result of the lockdowns, the Europeans took place virtually, with a thorough process to go through in order to compete.

"For the Europeans, we were given set times and there was strict protocols for the lifts to be valid," explained Jones.

"You had to have the right platform space, make sure the weights were verified and do your own weigh in, with your own scales which had to be verified.

"You post your lifts and then they're judged to see if they are technically good enough to be registered.

"There were really strict technical procedures and guidelines that you had to follow and it all had to be videoed.

"It was very well done though and judged as it would be for a normal competition.

"I enjoyed it but it can't beat competing in a live event, so I'm missing that."

Looking ahead, Jones hopes for to win a first European title in front of spectators in 2021.

He said: "I've won the Worlds and got a silver in the Worlds. I've won the Europeans and got a Silver in the Europeans.

"It's not easy qualifying for these events, because there standards you've got to reach. But, if I quality, I'd like to compete at the Europeans in the Netherlands in November as a live competition.

"If I can do that, at full strength, live at the Europeans, I'd feel like I could hang up the leotard after."