By James Somper
A couple who have been dubbed “Britain’s oldest weight lifters” are setting their sights on more glory after becoming European Weightlifting champions.
Lynn Dolman, 70, and Eric Dolman, 83, from New Tupton, Derbyshire have a combined age between them of 153.
The couple won gold in the senior male and female categories at the European Masters Championships in Budapest in May and between them have won dozens of international titles.
Eric, a former solider and nightclub singer began weightlifting at the age of 16 and has taken part in the sport on and off throughout his life.
Eric said: “I enjoy it. It’s a way of life. I started weightlifting when I was 16. I had my first competition when I was 19 when I won the Northern County championships.”
Eric then dipped in and out of the sport throughout his working life but it wasn’t until he’d retired from full-time singing in 1998 that he began competing in the sport.
“I started again when I was 75 because it was something to do. I just know that weights will keep you fit.
Eric began to compete in local and regional competitions before he began to compete internationally.
He has now won dozens of British and International weightlifting titles.
The couple follow a strict training programme that sees them work out three times a week for two hours at a time in a homemade gym in their garage.
“This morning we’ll be doing power snatches, clean jerks, dumbull presses and back squats. I’ll be snatching 38 kilos and doing dumbbell presses 18 kilos where I’ll be doing three sets of eight.”
Lynn said: “We train three times a week for two hours a time every Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
“We have a schedule that starts off using lighter weights which build up and increase every week until we can confidentially start to the weight that we want to increase at the competition.”
Despite her husband’s long-standing passion for the sport, Lynn says that she only took it up her in 60s.
She said: “I preferred doing other things like step aerobics. One day in the gym there was a pump class that involved lifting weights and I found it was quite easy.
“Then I thought I’d get my son to show me the technique. He trained me a bit and then I went from there.
“I entered the Northern Masters in 2012 and just went from there.
I enjoy it. I like to compete and we’ve got quite a nice circle of friends in the weightlifting community. It’s great for my self-achievement.
The Dolman’s say that they’ve noticed the health benefits of their active lifestyle
Eric, who has arthritis in the knuckles of both hands said that weightlifting helps with the condition: “When I’m lifting weights though it exercises them and I don’t feel any pain at all. It helps with nimbleness. I have no aches or pains but apart from that nothing else. If I go to the doctor’s with anything I feel a fraud because I feel so well.
Lynn said that the sport has also made her less susceptible to getting broken bones When you’re get older your bone density changes and weightlifting increases your bone density so you’re less susceptible to broken bones etc.
Despite his age, Eric says that he has no intention of giving up his beloved weights and even has ambitions to try other sports while he is still able to do so.
Eric said: “I lifted more when I was 80 than when I was in my 70s because the schedule I was on had increased my strength. The more you practice the stronger you get.
“Age is no barrier. When I was training gyms would say that I was as fit as a 20-year-old. That’s how I feel. The only thing I probably can’t do is run as fast. I’d like to start doing more sports like shotput.
“If I didn’t do the weights I don’t know what I’d do. I’ll keep doing this till I drop dead.”
Lynn added: “I think you can do anything at any age if you want to. Age is not a barrier. I’ll keep going as long as I can.”