Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 16.51.43International teenage weightlifting champion Rebekah Tiler has teamed up with Gateshead College to support the national ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, a new initiative to encourage more women to take up sport.

Rebekah attended the college’s Skills Academy for Sport at Gateshead International Stadium to support a programme of female-only sports activities taking place across the college’s campuses.

There she spoke to students about her sporting career and the opportunities for young women to enjoy a range of different sports.

The college is offering all female students the opportunity to try free sessions  to encourage them to take up sports, including boxercise, Zumba, dance, football, volleyball, rush hockey, dodgeball and Metafit.

Rebekah said: “The opportunities for women in sport are rapidly growing. I have learned first-hand how females can benefit from sport, not just on a professional level but on a personal one, too.

“The ‘This Girl Can’ campaign is great, encouraging women to put their trainers on and go for a run, attend a fitness class or try a game of football – whatever they enjoy. It’s great to remind people that anyone can take part in a sporting activity, no matter their ability.

“Gateshead College supporting the campaign, and offering free sporting sessions to students, is great news.

“It gives young people the opportunity to try something new and find a new hobby or even something which they may want to develop further, whilst maintaining their health and fitness.”

At 16, Rebekah is the youngest weightlifter ever to be crowned British Senior Champion.

She has also won gold and two bronze and an overall silver medals at the World Youth Championships in Lima, Peru, making her an ideal young role model to promote female sport.

The ‘This Girl Can’ campaign was developed by Sport England to encourage females of all ages to enjoy sport regardless of experience.

John Gray, director of student experience at Gateshead College said: “We want to encourage females in the region to take up sport and do something which they enjoy. We also want to let people know that sport isn’t exclusive to those with experience or particular skills.

“Rebekah is the perfect example of a female sporting role model who, against gender stereotypes, has thrived in her area of sport.

“She really inspired our female students today and whether this means that someone finds a new sporting hobby or someone finds a sporting skill they didn’t know they had, that means that the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign has worked.”

Academy of Sport students work with coaches to perfect their sporting skills whilst gaining academic and coaching qualifications, all in an environment which inspires them to achieve great success. The college has academies in men’s and women’s football, athletics, basketball, boxing, cricket, rugby, netball, golf, judo, swimming and weightlifting.