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Last Updated: Monday January 19 2009 08:08 GMT

I'm a champion weightlifter

Zoe weightlifting

Press Packer Zoe, 14, has just been named as an Athlete of the Year by the British Olympic Association.

Here's her report about being a weightlifting champion.


"When they first meet me, most people don't believe I'm a champion weightlifter - but it's true!

I have been weightlifting since I was 12 after swapping from gymnastics. That might sound a strange move to make, but I'm very glad that I did.

The weightlifters needed a girl to make up the numbers in their team for the London Youth Games which is why I was asked. A few other girls were invited to try too because gymnastics is a great sport for making you strong, but I was the only one who stuck with it.

Training

For my training I go to the gym four times a week for about two hours each time where we practise the different lifts.

In the two years I've been training I've become British champion in my weight category and have broken no less than 187 British records!

Olympics

My sport has given me some amazing chances to travel, including going to the Beijing Olympics. That was amazing! We got to stay with some of the athletes at the Team GB camp and went into the Olympic Village where we were able to mingle with all the athletes. I even got to meet Tom Daley!

Gold medal winner

Zoe with gold medal at Commonwealth Youth Games 2008
Zoe (centre) won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games 2008
My competition highlight has to be winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in India in October. I got to make lots of friends from lots of different countries while staying in the Games Village. It's an experience I'll never forget. I was even chosen as the flag bearer for Team England at the closing ceremony.

My friends and family really support me, even though most of them did think weightlifting was a strange sport at first. There are lots of good female lifters both in Britain and worldwide and I'd like to encourage more girls to give it a try.

Sport superstar

Olympic gold medallists Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington
Olympic gold medallists Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington
My biggest surprise so far has to be receiving the award of British Olympic Association Athlete of the Year for weightlifting - seeing my name on a list alongside people like Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington was amazing and almost unbelievable.

It has definitely given me the confidence to believe that I'm going to make it into Team GB for 2012 and if I do make it there who knows what might happen? You can be sure I'll do my very best to try to win a medal!"

Zoe, 14, Greater London


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