BRITISH Weight Lifting (BWL) have defended themselves in light of criticism of them on Rebekah Tiler's Twitter feed and from her mother Emma.

The 18-year-old Olympian from Denholme's social media site stated that she was living in student accommodation that was poor and unsafe and that there was no physio available to treat her sore knees as staff have been laid off.

The four-time European champion, who trains in Loughborough, had to move premises recently but her mother Emma said that there was no lock on Rebekah's outside door or on her inside door, her kitchen was a health hazard and the communal shower was unusable.

Her site even went as far as trying to persuade spectators not to buy tickets for the British Championships this weekend at Coventry's Ricoh Arena, which is a 2018 Commonwealth Games qualifier.

In the light of these comments and the withdrawal of funding for the sport from UK Sport, Ashley Metcalfe, BWL's chief executive officer, responded: "As with many sports which do not have UK Sport funding, BWL's performance squad now need to find employment in order to fund their lifting career.

"This is not ideal for preparing for elite competition, but prior to Lottery funding this was the norm in sport.

"While BWL has a duty of care for its lifters, they do make their own decisions when it comes to finding accommodation and preparing meals.

"In this instance, Rebekah and a fellow lifter (Fraer Morrow) selected their own accommodation.

"They are currently sharing student accommodation, like thousands of young adults who have left home for the first time, and are finding their way in the world, gaining independence and learning new personal development skills.

"Without UK Sport funding, there is limited resource as to how much BWL can do.

"However, it has offered to support Rebekah by securing locksmiths and ensuring that she is safe.

"Rebekah also continues to have access to physiotherapy at Loughborough."

Metcalfe also explained the affect that the cuts have had on BWL.

He stated: "UK Sport withdrew funding from British Weight Lifting in June 2017.

"This means that BWL no longer has the funds to support an elite squad of female lifters training for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the major championships leading up to it, despite the possibility of winning a medal at the Games.

"UK Sport did not provide funding for the men's elite squad for Rio 2016 and, despite this, BWL did qualify a male lifter, Sonny Webster, to compete at the Games.

"Sport England continues to support BWL, although that funding is ringfenced for the development of the sport and at grassroots level.

"A small budget from Sport England has been allocated to support the squad ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, but that no longer covers the provision of accommodation for the performance squad.

"Ahead of the UK Sport funding decision, BWL's former performance director, Tommy Yule, chose to move to another governing body.

"As a result of the loss of funding, BWL made changes to the structure of its performance team and and is in the process of recruiting a new talent manager.

"BWL continues to provide coaching and physio support at Loughborough University for its elite lifters."

As for this weekend's potential boycott of the British Championships by spectators, Metcalfe said: "The forthcoming British Championships is the sport's annual national championships attracting the country's best lifters.

"This year it is also a qualifying event for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, and Rebekah Tiler is planning to compete.

"Without UK Sport funding, BWL relies on the revenue generated by ticket sales and merchandising sold at the Championships to help fund elite lifters.

"As a not-for-profit sport governing body, all funds raised are reinvested back into the sport.

"We therefore urge everyone in the weightlifting family who cares about this sport to continue to support the event and our lifters as they prepare for Gold Coast 2018 and beyond."