Former Britain’s strongest woman winner is PhD researcher at the University of Northampton
"If you have the determination, drive and commitment, you can do it. That goes for a PhD as well."
Siobhán Hyland won the Britain’s strongest woman title in 2011 and after years of competing, she now balances the sport alongside her PhD in Northampton.
When Siobhán’s not hitting the books at University of Northampton, she’s training, competing, and coaching Olympic weightlifting, which is her ‘perfect release’.
The Northampton native splits her time between competitive weightlifting and delving into the backgrounds of Nazi war criminals.
“A day of looking at genocide photographs can be tough, so getting into the gym and throwing some weights around really does help,” said Siobhán.
Alongside her British title, she was also the Highland Games Champion and took part in the World Strongwoman Championship.
Despite being in the thick of her PhD and a global pandemic, the sport still plays an important role in allowing her to destress and ‘use it to benefit her wellbeing’.
She didn’t let the pandemic’s disruption on her training regime stop her, as she won bronze at the virtual British Olympic Weightlifting Championships this summer.
Gyms closing was a setback, but her garden, conservatory and the local garden centre’s car park were her new training grounds.
“If you have the determination, drive and commitment, you can do it. That goes for a PhD as well,” said Siobhán, who competes among 35 to 39 year olds.
“It just goes to show you’re never too old to start a new sport.”
There were more female lifters in the British squad who took to the Tokyo Olympics this year, proving the sport is becoming increasingly popular among the gender.
But none of them also study Nazi war criminals who lived in Britain after the Second World War and the Searchlight anti-fascist group, that’s for sure.