Weightlifting progress key after satisfying Games

12 August 2012 / 13:17

Great Britain's weightlifting team will look back on the Olympics with satisfaction but know obvious progress must be continued if they are to really compete with the world's best.

All five Team GB lifters, each at their first Games, as well as the coaching and performance squad assembled for London 2012 stood proudly on the biggest stage of all.

Poster girl Zoe Smith, 18, set a British clean and jerk record in the 58kg category and a new personal best total, while Gareth Evans and Jack Oliver also registered PB totals at ExCeL.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Peter Kirkbride battled through a torn bicep to lift the best clean and jerk of his career, while Natasha Perdue, 37, also overcame a worrying left leg spasm to earn her stripes as an Olympian - although both failed to better previous totals.

Team GB weightlifting head coach Tamas Feher got his wish for personal bests, while the overall placing targets set for each athlete were largely met.

Oliver (10th), Perdue (12th), Kirkbride (16th) and Evans (17th) pretty much finished as anticipated and Smith, who set the highest target of a top six to eight spot, managed 12th.

Breeze told Press Association Sport: "She's got every chance of doing well in Rio 2016, but she can't treat this like a walk in the park.

"She's got to go away now and train like a full-time athlete, a professional athlete, because that's what the rest of the world are doing."

One undoubted plus has been the hugely positive reception given to weightlifting by a partisan crowd at ExCeL, with 6,000 fans coming through the doors for each session, regularly three times a day.

The obvious publicity weightlifting has received in Britain from such exposure is unprecedented and the Games could well spike huge home interest in the sport.

Legacy was a key word throughout the bidding process for the Olympics, while the official 2012 motto "Inspire a Generation" was central to the aspirations of organisers.

As far as weightlifting is concerned, it could well be job done.