23/05/2012 16:12 | By Lee Harvey, content editor, MSN Sport

Zoe Smith: I want to get some massive personal bests



Zoe Smith will be one of the youngest British competitors at the London Olympics, but don't think for a moment that the 17-year-old weightlifter doesn't know exactly what she wants from the Games.

Speaking to MSN Sport at the Europa Gym in Erith, Kent, Smith declared: "I want to get some massive personal bests. I want to get six out of six lifts - all three snatches and all three clean-and-jerks. If I can do the best that I can do, I won't be disappointed".

British weightlifter Zoe Smith (© John Giles-PA Wire)

Smith announced herself at the 2010 Commonwealth Games where, aged 16, she claimed bronze in the 58kg class to become the first ever English woman to win a weightlifting medal. It was her first senior competition.

Since that initial success, Zoe's journey to London 2012 has been something of a rollercoaster ride. She's overcome funding issues, relocation to the GB high performance programme in Leeds, injury and scrutiny over which weight class she should compete.

"I've had a few ups and downs over the last couple of years leading up to the Games", she explains. "I think the hardest thing was being injured last summer. It put me out of training completely and I missed the European Youth Championships and European Junior Championships. It looks like I would have medalled at both so it's a shame. But it's also a learning curve and I'm going to come back stronger".

Asked what spectators can expect from their first taste of live weightlifting at the London Games, Smith is effusive about her sport: "It's a really exciting event. When you get down to the top three competitors in a group battling it out, it's great to watch. It's real 'edge-of your seat' stuff. It's quite an explosive sport. You need leg power. And you have to be fast".

Zoe Smith training at the Europa Gym in Erith, Kent (© Rebecca Naden-PA Wire)

Smith was introduced to weightlifting when she was 12 and she views herself as something of a natural. "I used to be a gymnast which was quite a good starting point for weightlifting," she explains. "I was flexible and quite strong from lifting my own body weight. You need that flexibility to get under the bar. My body shape and type is naturally suited to the sport".

Even the glare of Olympic competition holds no fear for Zoe: "I enjoy competing. It was something I naturally took to. I'm a competitive person and I'm good under pressure".

Don't be surprised if this Olympian exceeds her own lofty expectations at the London Games.

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