ASPIRING Olympic weightlifters are anxiously waiting for a call to confirm their place in the squad for London 2012 after taking part in the final qualifying event, the British Senior Championships, in Derbyshire on Saturday.
Many athletes boosted their claim to one of the five places available on the team with strong performances, but there was disappointment for some on a dramatic day at South Normanton.
London’s Zoe Smith hit the A standard once again with a performance which broke her own British U23 and U20 records in the snatch, clean and jerk and total.
Lifting in the 63kg category, 18-year-old Europa member Smith snatched 94kg and lifted 117kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 211kg, surpassing the A standard of 205kg.
Other highlights included Gareth Evans (Holyhead) in the 69kg class, where he once again reached the B standard and only just missed out on the A standard with a total of 277kg. In the same category, Team Manchester’s Shaun Clegg also hit the B standard, the 19-year-old totalling 273kg for the silver medal.
In the women’s 48kg class, Crystal Palace lifter Jo Calvino staked her claim for one of the two female spots on the team with 153kg, the second time she has reached the B standard. And her clean and jerk of 88kg equalled her own British senior record.
Also hitting the B standard was Calvino’s club-mate Halil Zorba, who reached 292kg to put himself in the frame for Olympic selection. And a third Crystal Palace athlete, Emily Godley, also hit the B standard again with 182kg in the 63kg class to take silver in the championships.
Commonwealth Games silver medallist Peter Kirkbride also hit the B standard for a second time, totalling 325kg in the 94kg class.
Other highlights included several age group British records being broken.
Ryan Baugh from Ivybridge broke the British schoolboys snatch record with a lift of 82kg in the 62kg bodyweight class, Christos Michaelas from Team Manchester set new British junior records in the snatch, clean and jerk and total in the same category. And Shaun Clegg lifted 123kg in the snatch, a new British junior record in the 69kg category.
Hannah Powell set a new British U23 record in the snatch, clean and jerk and total in the 48kg bodyweight class. And 105kg+ lifter Darius Jokarzadeh from Cardiff set a new British junior and U23 record of 165kg in the snatch, but then failed to record a good clean and jerk.
The selection panel met on Monday afternoon to decide who would be put forward to the British Olympic Association for ratification, but an appeal period means the team won’t be announced until June 11.
"It’s been very interesting,” said Performance Manager Fiona Lothian. “It makes selection pretty close across the board.”
“Everybody is now going through on the B standard and a number of factors will be considered, including 2016 potential, the progress they have made in the last few years and 2012 finish, they had two chances to do the B standard, either at the Europeans or here and that’s put quite a few people into contention.
“Athletes' overall profile will be taken into consideration, they may have got the B standard at the Europeans but not lifted as much here this weekend or vice versa, and there have been some interesting results in the last 2-3 weeks so we’ll wait and see.
“It’s a very young squad and it’s their first real experience of qualifying for a major Games. Some went to the Commonwealth Games in 2010, but actually for most of the guys in the squad that was a fairly comfortable qualification. This has been real stress, real pressure and it’s something they’re not used to, but I think they’ll learn from it going forward.”
Photo by Sarah Burton.