PB not enough for Smith to challenge
Zoe Smith lifted a new British clean and jerk record of 121kg
Zoe Smith finished 12th in the women's weightlifting 58kg after watching China's Li Xueying take Olympic gold at ExCeL.
Smith, competing in the B group, set a new British clean and jerk record (121kg) and new personal best total (211kg) in her first taste of Games action in front of electric home support.
The Greenwich-born 18-year-old, Great Britain's weightlifting poster girl, then took to the stands to watch the elite A group lifters compete on the platform.
And it was left for Li to claim gold after recording a total of 246kg - 35 kilos more than Smith - with Thailand's Pimsiri Sirikaew winning silver (236kg) narrowly ahead of Yuliya Kalina, from Ukraine, who walked off with bronze (235kg).
The leading lifters in the world are on a different level, with Li setting a new Olympic record in the snatch and total, while equalling the current clean and jerk best.
But ever-improving Smith achieved her aim coming into London 2012 of setting a new PB and taking a British record, and for that the 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist is happy.
"I've been after those records for a long time," Smith said. "It was Michaela Breeze's record, she's here today and she's an Olympic legend in weightlifting, so to have that record at the age 18 is promising good things for me. Onwards and upwards from here, I want to break the rest of them now."
It was always a tough ask for Smith to register a top-three finish, with the teenage prodigy openly admitting in the build-up to the London Games that 2012 had probably come four years too soon, although she expects to challenge with the world's best at Rio 2016.
UK Sport did not project any weightlifting medals for Team GB's quintet over the coming week, while weightlifting head coach Tamas Feher had set Smith the performance target of being around the top six to eight places.
Yet Monday's records, and the manner in which Smith attracted the nation's attention, have provided plenty of positives - not only for the here and now but for the future.
Good example to all teenage girls out there in UK.
Rather than carrying babies, I hope more of them would consider carrying weights like Zoe
I was a weightlifter, of sorts, at 18. I was 11 1/2 stone and could not shift anything like that. Go for it Zoe, it is a tough sport, and you are good at it. An acheiver in your own right, worthy of praise, a source of national pride, and a source of inspiration to usall.
It's weird seeing such a pretty young girl holding 19 stone above her head
It does not matter because my point is, I have a set of weights at home and maximum I can comfortably snatch lift is 11 stone . I have a set of training weights much less than that , which my mates cannot even lift and one them is a builder.
11 Stone is heavy . How the hell weight lifters lift above that is beyond me , Zoe Smith deserves a lot of credit , even if she does not medal.
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