It hasn’t taken Emily Dodd long to reach the top in powerlifting, as she prepares to compete in the sport’s World Bench Press Championships in Tokyo next week.

Dodd, who is from Barrow but now lives in Guildford, Surrey, first took up powerlifting only two years ago and her rapid rise includes her becoming the British Bench Press champion in February.

The 25-year-old former Chetwynde School student made the decision to really step things up this year and her new coach Emily Norley has helped her formulate a program to continue her quick progress.

She also came eighth in the British Women’s Classic Powerlifting Championships in March, out of 35 competitors, and she’ll now be representing Great Britain at an even higher stage next Monday.

Before she flew out to Japan yesterday, Dodd said: “It’s pretty much at the standard of the Olympics, although powerlifting unfortunately isn’t an Olympic sport.

“There are three lifts, squat, bench and deadlift, and it’s basically about lifting as heavy a weight as you can for one rep and you’ve got three judges watching you. The judges are quite strict in giving out their commands and then they tell you whether it’s a good lift or not.

“I absolutely love it and I’ve met so many supportive people through it as well, which is what’s really nice about it.

“Even though it’s obviously not a team sport and you’re competing just by yourself against tons of others, everybody just cheers on for each other, even if you’re in direct competition with somebody else.”

Powerlifting is just another string to Dodd’s bow, as she got into it through her job as a personal trainer, which she got in the first place as a means to pay for her other career as an actor, when a colleague noticed her strength.

It’s fair to say her range of activities, which also includes teaching pole dancing, is an eclectic one and how she finds time for everything in her life can only be described as impressive.

“I left Chetwynde and then came down to Guildford to go to drama school because I got into a foundation year, as my school wasn’t quite at the level for me to get into a three-year course,” Dodd said.

“I was also slightly overweight, which for acting and my singing voice didn’t match up, so I lost some weight by starting to go to the gym and stuff like that and then got into three years at drama school, which was really fun.

“I did all that and then that’s when I qualified as a personal trainer, while I’m a musical theatre performer, so I do acting, singing and dancing. I like to do lots of different things.”