Olympian Smith looks to end junior career with AYOF gold

15 January 2013 / 17:50

Zoe Smith, once dubbed British strongest schoolgirl, is looking to wave goodbye to the youth ranks in style this week.

Weightlifter Smith, who won Commonwealth Games bronze aged 16, competes for the first time since the London 2012 Olympics at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney.
Although it's hard to believe the well-recognised 18-year old is still classified as a junior, if only for a few more weeks.
“This is youth competition done for me after this, so hopefully I can do well and wave goodbye to childhood," said Smith, who finished fourth at last year's European Championships.
“The Australian Youth Olympic Festival will be my first event after the Olympics so I am a little bit nervous but I have been really training hard and I'm looking forward to it.
“I'm confident having competed at youth and Olympic level but I'm not taking the competition for granted. It’s not necessarily about beating other people but doing the best you know you can.
“There is no rest for the wicked as they say. Every time you finish a competition it’s about immediately looking forward to the next one and seeing how you can improve. 
"I'm always setting new goals and targets and hoping to improve in time for the big events.”
Smith set a new British clean and jerk lift record of 121kg at the London 2012 Olympics but still claims nerves got the better of her on the big stage last summer, when she finished 12th in the -59kg category.
“London 2012 was definitely the highlight of my life and career so far but I can certainly learn from it,” she added.
“I didn’t have the best performance at the Games but it has given me something to improve on and better.
“I definitely had more in the tank on the day but I think nerves got the better of me. I know now that is something I need to manage better."
© Sportsbeat 2013