Thursday, 8 July 2010

Zoe Smith selected for Delhi Commonwealth Games

16 years old Zoe Smith will become the youngest ever weightlifter to represent England at the Commonwealth Games after being named in a 12-strong team.

Smith will compete in the 58kg group in India, after taking silver at the European Youth Championships in June.

Zoe, who sealed her place in the squad with a combined lift of 188kg at the British Weightlifting Championships in Kilmarnock, said: "I'm pretty excited about it. At the moment it's as big as the Olympic Games to me. I think it will really help me on the way to 2012.

Smith has broken more than 300 records since taking up the sport four years ago.

She also took Gold at under-53kg at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune.

"The atmosphere there (in Delhi) will be phenomenal. I really enjoyed being in Pune and I'm looking forward to going back to India."

Also selected in the weightlifting team are Gurbinder Cheema and Jo Calvino, who both finished fourth at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and will each be competing in their third successive Commonwealth Games.

"Like everyone else, I'm obviously going for gold in Delhi. I think that's a realistic prospect. I'm going to give it my all and see what happens on the day."

Smith is 13th in the Commonwealth rankings for under-58kg, but she is expected to climb up the rankings when they are updated to include her European Youths performances.

Maggie Lynes, England's weightlifting team manager, said: "Zoe has demonstrated her potential to podium at major championships and it's very exciting to have her in the team.

"I think the whole team has the potential to do well in Delhi. They are all capable of performing on the day and now selection is out of the way, they can focus on their training for the Commonwealth Games."

The Games in Delhi will be the third to feature women's weightlifting and powerlifting for athletes with disabilities, and the first to showcase women's powerlifting for disabled athletes.

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