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Sixteen-year-old Zoe Smith named in England weightlifting team for Delhi
Sixteen-year-old Zoe Smith was today named in a 12-strong England weightlifting team to compete at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Smith becomes the youngest athlete yet selected for the England team for Delhi – she is a month younger than swimmer Rebecca Ajula-Bushell.
She is joined in the weightlifting team by Gurbinder Cheema and Jo Calvino, who both finished fourth at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, and by Beijing 2008 Paralympian Ali Jawad.
Today’s announcement takes the number of athletes selected for the England team for Delhi to date to 67.
Despite her young age, Smith is no stranger to international success having struck gold at under-53kg at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India when at just 14, she was the youngest member of the England team.
She also won the silver medal in the 58kg class at the European Youth Championships in Spain last month.
In the four years since taking up weightlifting the former gymnast has broken more than 300 records and currently holds the senior English records at both 58kg and 63kg for the snatch, clean & jerk and combined total, as well as the 53kg snatch record.
Smith, who has just completed her GCSE exams, said she is looking forward to competing in Delhi.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” she said. “At the moment it’s as big as the Olympic Games to me. I think it will really help me on the way to 2012.
“The atmosphere there will be phenomenal,” she added. “I really enjoyed being in Pune and I’m looking forward to going back to India.
“Like everyone else, I’m obviously going for gold in Delhi,” she added. “ I think that’s a realistic prospect. I’m going to give it my all and see what happens on the day.”
Smith is currently 13th in the Commonwealth rankings for the under-58kg class, one place below team-mate Helen Jewell, who contests the same division for England in Delhi. Smith is expected to climb much higher up the rankings once they are updated to take account of her performances at the European Youths.
Maggie Lynes, England’s weightlifting team manager, said: “Zoe has demonstrated her potential to podium at major championships and it’s very exciting to have her in the team.
“I think the whole team has the potential to do well in Delhi,” she added. “They are all capable of performing on the day and now selection is out of the way, they can focus on their training for the Commonwealth Games.”
53kg: Jo Calvino – born 18.08.80 at Wimbledon; lives Upper Norwood, London
58kg: Zoe Smith – born 26.04.94, Greenwich, lives Abbey Wood, London
58kg: Helen Jewell – born 29.11.88, Plymouth; lives Ivybridge, Devon
63kg: Emily Godley – born 22.10.89, Bromley; lives Bromley, London
69kg: Kerri Wotenick – born 04.08.83, Birmingham; lives Oldbury, West Midlands
Zoe Newson – born 24.03.92, Ipswich; lives East Bergholt near Colchester