Helen_Jewell_February 18 - Defending champions England retained the prestigious Tri-Nations weightlifting tournament in Norway on Saturday as some of their best athletes continued their preparations for the English Championships next weekend.

The annual team event saw eight English athletes take on some of the best weightlifters from hosts Norway and Sweden in Stavanger, with two athletes in the senior men's team, two in the senior women, two juniors and two youth.

The overall event winner is calculated using the Sinclair Co-efficient totals, which takes account of an athlete's bodyweight.

Sonny Webster of the Empire Sports Club, Bristol and Alex Collier of Team Manchester got England off to a winning start with first and second in the youth event.

Lifting in his first international competition, Collier broke four British under-17 records and totalled 216kg to take second place. And Webster, who won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Youth Championships in December, settled for a total of 250kg which was enough to win first place.

Zoe Smith of the Europa Club in Dartford and Helen Jewell of Ivybridge (pictured) in Devon increased England's lead with good performances.

Jewell achieved a very accomplished performance with four personal bests in the snatch, clean and jerk and overall total to take third spot.

Recently recovered from injury, Smith put in a very powerful performance with six out of six explosive lifts to win second place behind the winner from Norway.

In the junior section, Shaun Clegg of Olympic Dragons in Oldham showed maturity and a disciplined performance to achieve a new personal best of 125kg and narrowly missed recording another personal best jerk of 155kg, but had to settle for 148kg, which was enough to win the junior title.

Joshua Farghaly of West Wythenshaw lifted 118kg in the snatch and 135kg in the clean and jerk, but was beaten into fourth place by strong lifters from Sweden and Norway.

In the senior men's section, England had two young lifters who have just moved out of the junior ranks. Peter Barnett of the Europa Club in Dartford and Chris Freebury of Derby were outperformed by more experienced lifters from Sweden and Norway.

But the team had done enough overall to take victory. England - coached by Sam Hayer of Oldbury College of Sport and Keith Trebillcock of Parkhead, Ashington - beat Sweden by 72kg and Norway by 197kg.

"The team was a young one following the retirement of several experienced lifters after the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and several are members of the extended GB Olympic squad and Talent ID squad," said British Weight Lifting chief executive Steve Cannon.

"However, we were very pleased with the performance of the English team, particularly the performances of Alex Collier, Helen Jewell and Shaun Clegg who all achieved personal bests.

"This is an important milestone on the road to the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow."