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Weightlifter Smith 'needs to kick on'

August 2, 2012 16:15 pm

Retired double Olympian Michaela Breeze wants to see Zoe Smith not just to take her remaining British records but also turn it up a notch and really start to rival the best in the world.

Breeze is the most decorated female British weightlifter in history, competing in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics as well as winning five Commonwealth Games medals between 2002 and 2010.

She did hold a total of nine British senior records across three weight categories, that was until 18-year-old prodigy Smith surpassed her 58kg clean and jerk best at ExCeL on Monday.

Smith, who admits Breeze is a true inspiration to her dreams, is the new golden girl of British weightlifting and saved some of the best lifts of her fledgling career to set a new personal best total at the 2012 London Games.

But it remained only enough for 12th place - 35kg adrift of China's gold medallist Li Xueying - and Breeze, having seen one of her records tumble, is keen for the teenager to kick on.

"Records are there to be broken, good on her," Breeze said. "I just hope now she can take my other records but move it up a step again.

"The standard of women's weightlifting is improving and improving and improving. As is evident by the weights that are being lifted across all of the categories.

"She's going to need to raise her game if she's going to stay with the best in the world.

"12th position at an Olympic Games isn't a fantastic result but she's on the up, she's improving, she's taken one of my British records and I can only see Zoe getting better and stronger. I just hope she can stay injury free and have as long a career as I had."

Smith is not the only member of Team GB's weightlifting quintet to perform admirably on the 2012 stage, with Gareth Evans (17th) and Jack Oliver (10th) also posting PBs while Natasha Perdue (12th) bravely battled through injury to record a total. Peter Kirkbride is the only lifter still to compete when he takes to the stage in the men's 94kg on Saturday.

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