Zoe Smith: A new heroine for British weightlifting

  • @ianherbs

An improbable touch of glamour was delivered to the world of weightlifting yesterday when a teenager broke the national record and left barely a dry eye in the house.

The 18-year-old Zoe Smith, who has had to contend with Twitter abuse for her choice of sport, lifted 121kg in the women's 58kg weightlifting competition and dissolved into tears when asked about the importance of her mother's presence. "Thank you so much. I love you mum," Smith said, glancing at mother, Niki, when interviewed after her performance in the class (eventually won by Chinese favourite Li Xueying). Smith, who finished 14th, broke the record by 1kg.

She said: "There are people who hate female weightlifters because we apparently all look like men. But we don't. I'm a girl, I wear make-up and lip gloss. It's two fingers up to them, basically. What are you doing with your life? I've competed at the Olympics!"