Britain's Zoe Smith aims for Olympic qualifying standard in Paris

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter

Britain's Commonwealth bronze medallist Zoe Smithexternal-link believes she can achieve the 2012 qualifying standard at the World Championships in Paris on Tuesday.

Smith, 17, won silver at the World Youth Championships in May but has not competed since because of injury.

"I'm just about over my back problem and training has been going well," the Londoner told BBC Sport.

"Paris is another big step [towards the Olympics]. I'm quite confident that I can lift the weight I need."

The Greenwich-born lifter added: "It will be my first major senior international competition. Obviously, I did the Commonwealths, but the Worlds are another level completely so it's a big step for me."

Great Britain will take a squad of eight weightlifters to the World Championshipsexternal-link, which are being held at Disneyland Paris.

The competition represents the first opportunity for athletes to achieve the lifts they need to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. However, reaching the Olympic standard of a combined 205kg lift in Paris would not guarantee Smith's participation in the -63kg event in London next year.

"Our qualifying period runs from November to May and I have to hit the total twice in that time," she said. "My biggest combined lift is 201 kilos, so I'm not far off the totals I need for London."

British Weightlifting can nominate five athletes, three male and two female, for the Olympic Games.

"This is a great opportunity for the GB athletes to put down a marker for London 2012 selection," said British Weightlifting performance director Fiona Lothian.

"The progress the athletes have made over the last few months means we are now in a position to field a much bigger team than we sent to the Worlds in 2009 and 2010."

Performances by the British squadexternal-link have certainly been improving in recent times.

In 2007, no GB weightlifter managed a top-10 finish at the European Championships, whereas last year four achieved that mark.

One major blow to Britain's hopes of success at the Worlds in Paris will be the absence of Scotland's 2010 Commonwealth silver medallist Peter Kirkbrideexternal-link, who has withdrawn with an ankle problem.

The 23-year-old sustained the injury whilst claiming second placeexternal-link in the -94kg division at the Commonwealth Championships in Cape Town, South Africa last week.

The European Championshipsexternal-link in Turkey in April next year will represent one of the final opportunities for Kirkbride and other British lifters to qualify for London 2012.

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