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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Tuesday, 22 February 2011

GB weightlifter Zoe Smith has Olympic funding restored

Zoe Smith

Weightlifter Zoe Smith sets sights on 2012 despite cut

By Nick Hope
BBC Olympic Sports Reporter

Commonwealth bronze medallist Zoe Smith has had her personal Olympic funding restored after showing a "number of positive changes" in recent months.

British Weight Lifting suspended the Londoner's funding before Christmas after deeming her "overweight".

"I am so pleased to hear that what I consider to be the right decision has been reached," said Smith.

"It has been difficult balancing the pressures of school, training and a huge amount of media interest."

The 16-year-old was part of the England team who retained the Tri-Nations title after defeating Sweden and hosts Norway at the beginning of February.

I have never, at any point, shown a drop in my enthusiasm or dedication to succeed

GB Weightlifter Zoe Smith

The decision came in the wake of what British Weightlifting called a "powerful performance" by Smith, who achieved six out of six lifts to finish second, having only recently recovered from injury.

"I am pleased with the progress Zoe has made since Christmas, she is adhering to a structured programme and her training is back on track," said British Weight Lifting performance manager Fiona Lothian.

Her funding situation was expected to be reviewed immediately after the tri-nations, but negotiations have taken a number of weeks.

The relationship between the sport's governing body and Smith's camp became strained before the turn of the year following questions about her commitment to a structured training programme and the teenagers apparent failure to stabilise her bodyweight.

"I have ensured over the last two months that I have met the requests of the governing body in terms of submission of my training diaries and personal contact with them.

In terms of training, performance and commitment to my sport, I have never, at any point, shown a drop in my enthusiasm or dedication to succeed," added Smith.

Since being hit with the funding suspension, the teenager has received numerous messages of support from the public, including some surprise donations.

"A pensioner sent me a five-pound-note in the post, I couldn't spend it though because it meant so much to me," Smith told BBC Sport.

"I'd like to thank everyone who showed me support throughout the period in which my funding was suspended, for genuinely helping me to get through it.

The kindness of the public has been heart-warming and I'm now even more determined to succeed in my sport and represent my country to the best of my ability to say thank you to everyone who has shown that belief in me," said Smith.

If I ever need that little kick at the end of a training session now, I just think about that support."

The 16-year-old's competition schedule leading up to the 2012 Olympics is yet to be finalised, but her main aim for this year is to win the European Youth Championships in Ciechanow, Poland 21-28 August, after claiming a silver medal in the event in 2010.


Olympic Dreams meets schoolgirl weightlifter Zoe Smith

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see also
Teenager Smith loses 2012 funding
23 Dec 10 |  Weightlifting
What makes Zoe Smith special?
06 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Smith wins weightlifting bronze
06 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Teenage weightlifter set for Commonwealths
29 Jun 10 |  Weightlifting

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