By Richard Cawley
Zoe Smith won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia this weekend – then admitted her injury-hit build-up to the tournament made the podium finish extra special.
The Greenwich-born weightlifter snatched 92kg before a clean-and-jerk of 115kg to post a total of 207kg.
Smith, competing in the 63kg category, said: ”That is one of the toughest competitions I’ve ever done so this has got to be one of my proudest moments, it’s up there.
“I’ve had maybe the worst prep of my life, I came back from shoulder surgery (in 2015) and set my best total in November to qualify to come here, then my preparation was going really well until about three weeks ago when I had another back injury flare up which seems to happen to me regularly, and I’ve not trained for three weeks.
“I got here and didn’t even know if I’d be on the platform two hours ago, I rested for about five days and had literally not touched a bar so it has been manic. So today we just went pedal to the metal and just smashed it, so I’m over the moon. I just didn’t expect to be on that podium.
“You may have been able to tell [I wasn’t fully fit] by looking at the weights, that was well below par for me, that is nowhere near when I’m on top form the kind of weight I want to do. I really thought I’d be looking to get PBs at this competition but alas it wasn’t to be. I’m just going to get into training when I’m back home in the UK and keep my head down and on to the next one.
“I’ve made a few changes in my personal life, so I’m now living in Loughborough, I’ve gone back to college to finish my A-levels at the grand old age of 23, and that’s after I lost my funding. I feel really blessed to be able to train there, and it’s obviously working. I’m enjoying life when I can.
“When I’m on form, I’m good, I can be hitting those big weights, I can hang with the best and stay in contention for medals. I’m not old, I turn 24 next month but it’s a lot different from being 16 when you’re basically just made of rubber and magic and can just bounce back from anything. I really need to focus on taking care of my body, just to make sure I’m on form to lift those big weights.”
Jack Oliver, from Sidcup, won silver in the 77kg men’s weighlifting with a total of 312kg.
He said: “It’s about time, to be honest, it’s my third Games, and a silver medal, I can’t believe it. I missed out on Rio because I dislocated my ankle and then I had to have my appendix taken out.
“So to have the injuries I’ve had and be here – I’m proud of myself basically. And I am happy with that.“
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