Commonwealth Games 2014: Zoe Smith silences critics with golden triumph
Commonwealth Games 2014: Zoe Smith wins weightlifting gold after bronze triumph in Delhi in 2010
It was like a game of poker but with weights instead of chips and Zoe Smith had the straight face and the royal flush as she proved her critics wrong by claiming Commonwealth Games gold.
Smith became the first English woman to win a Commonwealth Games weightlifting medal at Delhi 2010, securing bronze in the 50kg aged just 16, and she’s had to cope with increased expectation ever since.
I was always going for gold but whether I would get it or not was another thing entirely and I can go back to all those people that we asking and be like ‘yeah, I got it’
And in the Clyde Auditorium, or the Armadillo as it’s known in Glasgow, 20-year-old Smith swept away her rivals to land gold in the same 58kg category.
The opening snatch element began with lifters trading which weights they would come in at and then try with Wales’ Michaela Breeze coming out on top in three-way tussle with Smith and Ndidi Winifred.
Breeze lifted a Games record 93kg but Smith was not to be denied in the clean and jerk and posted her own Games record for that element with 118kg and overall with 210kg.
Not bad for a girl who gorged on chocolate after dehydrating herself in order to make the weight for the 58kg competition in Glasgow.
“I was just somewhere else entirely, I just can’t believe it,” said Smith, who finished 12th in her Olympic debut at London 2012.
“I have done 118kg before, I knew I could do it but doing it on the day is a completely different situation altogether.
“To have that 118kg over my head and stand still with it and getting the down signal was the biggest wave of relief I have ever felt. Part of me is glad that that is all done and dusted now.
“This has been a long time coming. I have had to have the same conversation a thousand times – ‘so it’s the Commonwealth Games soon, are you nervous? Are you going for gold?
“I was always going for gold but whether I would get it or not was another thing entirely and I can go back to all those people that we asking and be like ‘yeah, I got it’.”