Posts Tagged 'weightlifting'

Looking forward to the year ahead…. – Zoe Smith

Hard to believe we’re already virtually through the first month of the year.

My training is starting to step up in preparation for my next big competition on 20 February. The competition is the English Senior Championships taking place at Lilleshall National Sports Centre and it’s one of the qualifying competitions for the Commonwealth Games so I want to be ready to do my best.

Although I don’t have to put in any extra hours, the weights I am lifting in training are starting to get gradually heavier and it’s also the time that I have to start thinking about my own weight (again!)

Earlier this week I had a meeting with my coach and the Performance Manager of World Class Lifting to agree my targets for the year and to decide which competitions I’ll be focusing on.

As I’ve already said, my 100% main aim for the year is to compete and do well at the Commonwealth Games in India and because of that my coach has said he doesn’t want me to go to the first Olympic Youth Games in Singapore in August as he feels it would be too close to the Commonwealths. While that’s a bit disappointing, I totally understand where he’s coming from.

Another very important competition that I may have to miss this year could be the European Youth Championships taking place in Spain in May. That competition not only falls during my GCSEs but will be quite close to the British Senior Championships in June which is another event that I’m going
to have to make sure I’m at my absolute best for to ensure qualification for the Commonwealths. Again it would be difficult to be at my peak for both so we’re going to have to leave it til nearer the time for my coach to make a decision. The good news is that on whatever would be the actual day
of my competition in Spain I don’t actually have an exam but as they are either side of that date it really would have to be a “flying visit” if I do go!

Yesterday morning I sat the final part of my GCSE Science. There are 3 exams in total but I had to miss the final one (Biology) when we sat them (a year early) last May as I went to Austria to compete at the Fulda Cup so I was very pleased when I was told I’d get the chance to take it now instead. Fingers crossed I’ve not done too badly, although Science isn’t exactly my strong point.

I had my mock GCSE results through this week and, considering I did have to miss quite a bit of school last year to compete abroad and to attend WCL squads, I was quite pleased with the results.

Looking ahead to this weekend, I’ll be travelling down to Bristol on Saturday for the second Commonwealth Games training squad so I’m really looking forward to meeting up with everyone again.


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 😉

Sweet Tooth by Zoe Smith

Thank you to everyone who has been asking how my dad is.  I’m glad to say he’s home from hospital now and normal service will (hopefully!) be resumed shortly.

The thing that has been dominating my thoughts over the last week is my diet!  I need to make sure I am able to weigh in at exactly 58kg (or hopefully a little less) by the date of my next competition in Sweden in 2 weeks.

Although my diet is always reasonably healthy, I do have rather a sweet tooth which means that I can gain weight quite easily if I’m not being careful.  I’m particularly partial to chocolate and flavoured milkshakes, but I’m having to be very strict with myself at the moment and am trying to cut things like that out altogether.

I’m very lucky that I am able to benefit from the advice of Martin MacDonald, the World Class Lifting Nutritionist.  He advises me to eat around 5 small meals a day, mostly made up of protein with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and a small amount of carbohydrates.  The other big advice is for me to drink PLENTY of water, which is something I’ve never been very good about – but I’m getting better with practice!

People ask why I don’t add in some cardio work to my training regime to help burn off some extra calories, but I am strongly advised by my coach NOT to do this as he honestly believes it would weaken my strength for weightlifting so that doesn’t make weight loss any easier.

I’ve just under 2kg still to lose which doesn’t sound like much, but I’m sure most people know how it’s always the last little bit that is the hardest to shift.

Wish me luck!

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