Smith ready to make up for lost time at Commonwealth Games

 Londoner Zoe Smith is marking her return to weightlifting’s higher echelons in style at the Commonwealth Games.

A shoulder injury ruled the 23-year-old out of the Rio Olympics in 2016, subsequently leading her sponsor to drop her.

Her comeback marks a third Commonwealth Games, having become the first Englishwoman to win a weightlifting medal with bronze at Delhi 2010 – and with experience has come a certain wisdom.

“I’m trying to keep everything as normal as it would be at home,” she said.

“When you go to a competition the last thing you want to do is start changing things for the sake of it, so everyone’s just trying to keep steady.

“It’s funny, I don’t think of myself as an experienced athlete to pass on my great wealth of knowledge, but one of the things I have said is just don’t lose your head.

“Don’t get excited and start going for big weights just because you’re in a new environment with new people and showing off a little bit!

“Stick to what your coach is telling you, stick to your programme and keep training as you would for the British or something.

“Just because it’s the Commonwealth Games, it doesn’t mean you’ve got to go all out just now – you want to save something for the platform.

“I saw a doughnut shop earlier – but don’t go too crazy with it, it’ll still be there after the competition.

“Just stick to what you know, stick to your diet and keep a level head.”

Such grounding advice does not mean that Smith is not proud of her fellow Team England weightlifters.

For many athletes including Fraer Morrow and Alex Collier, this is their first multi-sport event – and Smith is just as excited as they are.

“It can obviously be a little bit overwhelming,” she said. “Some of the guys have been like, ‘Oh my god, I recognise that person, they’re amazing!’

“But I think everyone is settling down a bit now and realising that they’re part of it.

“They’re not just here for the ride – they’re one of the athletes as well.

“They’re obviously as amazing as their heroes, so it is great to see.”

One Team England athlete on everyone’s lips – and ears – is long jumper Jazmin Sawyers, who alongside Britain’s Got Talent winner Tokio Myers, has reworked the anthem Jerusalem for the Games.

Should England win a gold medal, the song will play through the speakers as the athlete stands on the podium.

“I’ve listened to that a few times and it’s got me emotional every time,” said Smith.

“If I was to win and hear that on the podium, I would probably have a little cry.

“That’s not something I would normally do so that’s how much it means!

“I actually know Jazmin from Bath – we became friends at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

“We’ve been really great friends ever since, so I’m extra proud of her.”

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