Trinations (England v Sweden v Norway) – Zoe Smith

We should have known this wasn’t going to be a very lucky excursion for the England team from the moment our bus crashed trying to get out of the car park in Sweden! Literally within seconds of getting on the bus, the driver managed to drive directly into a lamppost somehow. Fortunately we could’ve only been going about 4mph so nobody was badly hurt, we were all just a bit bruised and bashed up! However if we’d had been going any faster than that it could’ve been quite serious.

It was only hours before this that one of the senior lifters on our team had nearly missed the flight – he was so late that they’d already shut the doors and we were told that his bags had been offloaded! We still have no idea how he managed to, just in the nick of time, make it onto the plane about a minute prior take off.

After all this drama (a couple of hours after landing in Sweden!) and we were safely on another bus, we travelled for 2 hours from Gothenburg to Falköping where the competition was to be held. It got dark whilst we were still on the bus so we had no idea what it really looked like until the next morning. All we really knew at that point was it was freezing cold and raining! By this time none of us felt like competing the next day in all honesty. We were shaken up and exhausted from the shock of the crash, so we literally ate dinner and then turned in early.

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been struggling to reduce my weight to exactly 58kg or just below over recent weeks, but I was relieved to weigh in at 57.93 (although I did have to resort to using the sauna – but where better than Sweden for that?!)

Going in to the competition, my personal bests (all Under 18s British records) were 76kg for the snatch, 94kg for the clean and jerk with a 169kg total so I was definitely looking to improve on those.

My coach had set me a target of 80kg for the snatch and 100kg for the clean and jerk but sadly my snatch didn’t go according to plan as I missed my opening lift of 72kg.  I took 72kg again for my 2nd attempt and this time was successful but it only left me one attempt at 80kg and although I felt like I was going to make it, unfortunately I failed.  To be honest, I think I felt really nervous about my opening lift because of what happened at my last competition in Israel in September where I failed my opener of 73kg and went crashing head first into the judges!  You can view that disaster on YouTube, see below.



So then it was time for my clean and jerk.  Would I break the magic 100kg barrier?!  My coach decided I should open my clean and jerk on my British record of 94kg and thankfully I got that straight away.  My first attempt at 100kg though was rather less successful – it may sound silly but I hadn’t been prepared for it to feel that heavy and I crumpled a bit under the weight!  So it was all hanging on my last attempt and I was so happy that I achieved it without any problem.

I ended the competition having set new 58kg Under 23s down to Under 15s British clean and jerk and total records, as my new PB total is now 172kg.

This was a senior women’s competition (even though I’m only 15) and I was really pleased to finish in 2nd place out of the 6 lifters.  Coming 2nd was far from a disgrace as the winner was the Norwegian lifter, Ruth Kasirye, who won a silver medal at the European Senior championships this year.

Unfortunately for the whole England team though, overall we finished last of the 3 nations but the Swedes had made us all so welcome that it was still a great experience to be there.  It was just a shame that the whole visit was so short.

One final thing I had to make sure of before getting on the plane for home – a Swedish fridge magnet for my mum!  She demands one for each international I go to – our fridge is filling up fast 😉


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