Weightlifter Jess Gordon-Brown will make her Commonwealth Games debut this summer, but not in the sport she once expected. 

The 26-year-old will represent Team England in the -59kg category in Birmingham though that is by far the only string to her bow.

The Hillingdon star competed as a judoka at European Cup level with hopes of competing at major championships but, having started lifting weights in training, moved over permanently following a serious injury. 

“I was just doing strength and conditioning for my judo and my strength and conditioning coach started trying to teach me the basics,” she said.

“He actually said I was too strong and it was going to take me a very long time to get the technique sorted. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have even had the idea of starting weightlifting. I guess his comment motivated me to prove him wrong.

“I hurt my shoulder in 2016 and it meant that I couldn’t have any impact, I couldn’t be thrown in case it popped out in the wrong place again.

“That’s what led me to finishing judo and starting weightlifting, because of the uncertainty of how I was going to land on my shoulders each time - it just scared me. 

“I was also at University, so I couldn’t get to my coach very often, so it was a natural turnover point. It’s just gone from there.”

Aside from judo, Gordon-Brown credits competing as a gymnast at an international standard as another reason for her sporting success.

She said: “I did acrobatic gymnastics, where you have people balancing on top of each other.

“Because I was on the bottom, it prepared me to replace a human with a barbell, and I think it gave me a very good base of strength and knowing what I could lift, even when I just started weightlifting.

“I don’t really do much now, but I think they do go hand in hand because you’ve got similar aspects in weightlifting as you have in gymnastics. 

“You have coordination, you’ve got stability, core strength. Once you start doing both, you realise how much they play into each other and how much they can be a benefit.

“It’s a really good pathway into weightlifting, you get a lot of gymnasts that move over later on in their late teens. They realise it’s a good place to be.”

The Commonwealths will be the first major multi-sport championships for Gordon-Brown, who works as a children’s sports coach outside of training and competing.

Not intimidated by the global stage, she holds lofty ambitions for her Team England debut. 

“It just feels like everything has come together at the right time and I’m really excited to see how it’s going to be, especially because it’s a home game,” she said.

“In terms of any targets for the actual games, definitely a medal, and I think as long as I keep my head strong and I just trust myself with the progress I’ve been making, maybe a gold. 

“It all depends on what happens on the day and I don’t want to jinx it. That is the definite thing, trying to get a medal and a gold would just be amazing. 

“I don’t think I can imagine it right now, but I think it would be a really good thing for me.”