BBC News

Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Tuesday, 30 November 2010

2010 YSPOTY contenders: Zoe Smith Q&A

Zoe Smith
Zoe Smith became the youngest ever Commonwealth weightlifting medallist when she took bronze in Delhi

Zoe Smith, 16, made history this year as the youngest ever Commonwealth Games weightlifting medallist and England's first ever female Commonwealth weightlifting medallist.

In the process Zoe, a nominee for this year's Young Sports Personality of the Year, set her 317th British record since 2007 and also won a silver medal at the European Youth Championships and secured gold at the London Youth Games and Tri-Nations event.

Here are her answers to the questions posed by the School Reporters from St John Wall Catholic School in Handsworth, Birmingham. And you can find out more about the other nine contenders for the Young Sports Personality of the Year prize here.

Q: What inspired you to start doing your sport?

I got into weightlifting totally by chance when I was asked if I'd like to give it a try to see if I could help out with making up the numbers in the Greenwich London Youth Games Weightlifting Team.

A full team was made up of two boys and one girl - but they were missing a girl!

It turned out I was two years too young to compete at the London Youth Games but I was encouraged to keep training as I showed natural ability. Turned out to have been a good decision!

Q: What is your biggest ambition in your sport?

At the moment pretty much all my ambition is channelled towards trying to make sure of a place in the Olympic team for London 2012. The thought of competing at an Olympics in front of a home crowd is an opportunity very few people get the chance to experience, but I'd so love to be one of the few that do!

Q: What was your first big achievement in your sport?

My first big national achievement was when I'd just turned 13, which is the youngest age you can enter national weightlifting competitions.

I won the British Under 17s and smashed all the British Under 18s records (for snatch, clean and jerk and total) that had stood for more than 10 years.

My first big international achievement came just a year later when I became the Commonwealth Youth Champion at 14 and equalled senior British records.

Q: What is your best memory from your time playing your sport?

Especially as it's still so fresh in my mind, that has to be stepping on to the podium in Delhi to collect my Commonwealth bronze medal. Making history by becoming the youngest ever Commonwealth weightlifting medallist and only ever English medallist made it all the more special.

Q: What do you do to unwind and relax away from sport?

Away from sport I spend my time like most teenagers I think, mainly just sitting at the computer on Facebook chatting to my friends and listening to music. I really enjoy going to live music shows too.

Mo Farah
Mo Farah achieved a remarkable double at the Europeans

Q: Apart from your own success, what has been your favourite sporting moment of the year?

I really enjoyed watching the European Athletics Championships earlier in the summer and for me particular performances that stood out have to be Jess Ennis winning the heptathlon and Mo Farah's amazing double at both 5,000 and 10,000 metres.

Q: What kind of sacrifices have you had to make to get to where you are?

I can't really say I've had to make any sacrifices - apart from not being able to eat much when I'm making weight for a competition (which seems to be all the time).

My training hours are quite low compared to most other sports I think so they fit around my life quite easily, meaning I have time for my school work and to catch up with friends.

The only time that's a problem though is when I have to take time off to compete internationally. Catching up with three weeks of my AS Level courses right at the start (because I was in Delhi) is proving a bit of a struggle if I'm honest.

Q: How many friends do you have on Facebook?

I currently have 1,109 friends on Facebook!

Q: Who are your best friends and/or main rivals in your sport?

My best friend in weightlifting is my GB team mate, Hannah Powell. Although she lives in Birmingham and I live in London we meet up fairly regularly and always have a good time.

As for rivals, there's no single person that I can think of - just anyone who beats me I suppose!

Q: What is your favourite song of 2010?

Having to think of just one favourite is really hard, but Radar Detector by Darwin Deez has to be one of them.

YSPOTY contenders: Conor Coady Q&A
30 Nov 10 |  School Report
YSPOTY winner: Tom Daley Q&A
19 Dec 10 |  School Report
GB taekondo star Jade Jones Q&A
09 Aug 12 |  School Report
YSPOTY contenders: Dan Lucker Q&A
30 Nov 10 |  School Report
Olympic gymnastics: TeamGB star Sam Oldham Q&A
30 Jul 12 |  School Report
YSPOTY contenders: Liam Pitchford Q&A
30 Nov 10 |  School Report
YSPOTY contenders: Laura Robson Q&A
30 Nov 10 |  School Report
YSPOTY contenders: Emma Saunders Q&A
30 Nov 10 |  School Report
YSPOTY contenders: Jodie Williams Q&A
30 Nov 10 |  School Report
2010 BBC Young Sports Personality: Top 10
26 Nov 10 |  Sports Personality
Teens battle for sport star prize
26 Nov 10 |  Sport
Daley wins second Young BBC award
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Hat-trick for Tom?
08 Oct 10 |  Student reports



Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific