London 2012: GB weightlifter Peter Kirkbride hopes for injury-free 2012

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter

Scotland's Commonwealth silver medallist Peter Kirkbrideexternal-link says he is confident he can attain the Olympic 'A' standard ahead of London 2012.

The 94kg lifter has endured an injury-plagued 14 months since his success in Delhi, but made an impressive return at the Olympic test event last weekend.

"This is just a taster of what's to come," said Kirkbride, who achieved an Olympic 'B' standard total of 320kg.

"I've just got to stay injury free and keep doing the hard work next year."

Kirkbride missed Great Britain's record-breaking World Championship campaign in November after sustaining an ankle injury at the Commonwealth Championships in South Africa, where he won a silver medalexternal-link.

"It was a thing I had to do," Kirkbride told BBC Sport.

"If I'd have gone I could have been out for even longer, so I had to take the decision and deal with it. I heard people did well and I would have loved to have been part of it, but I made the sacrifice to be 100% fit."

After sampling the competition stage at London's ExCel Centreexternal-link, the venue for Olympic weightlifting, Kirkbride is in no doubt that he wants to return next year.

"I've done it [the Olympic 'B' standard] four times this year and been injured, so what am I going to do when fully fit?" said Kirkbride. "If I could hit a 339kg total ['A' standard], which is just three kilos off my best, then I'd be happy.

"Just to qualify to go to the Olympics, to be the first Olympian from my club [Kilmarnock] and to be an Olympian for GB would be a great honour and a dream."

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One lifter who was not able to complete at the Olympic test event was England's Commonwealth bronze medallist Zoe Smith.

Like Kirkbride, the 17-year-old from London has suffered a number of injury problems this year, but British Weightliftingexternal-link team manager Fiona Lothian insists it should not harm her European Championships and Olympic Games hopes in 2012.

"She picked up an injury a few weeks ago and it's been recovering reasonably well, but we didn't want to risk it in a competition, especially going into the next selection period," Lothian told BBC Sport.

"I think it's a little bit about adapting to being a full-time athlete. We've seen with a number of lifters in Leeds that they have gone through a little bit of an injury, worked really hard and resolved the problem.

"It's making sure there's good muscle balance. Obviously she's very strong and has a huge amount of talent, but some of the weak areas need to be addressed."

The 2012 European Championshipsexternal-link in Turkey in April will be the next major international competition for the British lifters.

Performances there will help determine which five athletes are selected to take the Team GB weightlifting host-nation places for the London Olympics.

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