Smith calm about 2012 prospects

THE London Olympics may be just 18 months away but Hunts gymnast Louis Smith is adamant he is looking no further than 2011.

THE London Olympics may be just 18 months away but Hunts gymnast Louis Smith is adamant he is looking no further than 2011.

Smith jets off to Berlin in April for the European Championships, before flying to Tokyo for the World Championships in October – an event which will go a long way to defining his London 2012 medal hopes.

Tokyo is the qualifier for the 2012 Olympic gymnastics competition, with Great Britain, who hope to enter the team event in London, needing to finish in the top eight.

After recovering from a broken thumb 12 months ago, Smith enjoyed his best-ever year in the sport in 2010, adding European and World silver medals to his already bulging trophy cabinet.

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“It feels fantastic to have finished the year with no injuries and I just look forward to 2011,” said Smith, speaking at the launch of the BMW London 2012 Performance Team at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, an initiative designed to provide Team GB and ParalympicsGB with support as they prepare for the Games.

He continued: “The big one of the year is the World Championships in Tokyo and that is the qualifier for 2012 – that’s the one we need to bring our ‘A’ game to.

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“Our target as Great Britain is to qualify a team and our team has to finish in the top eight and if not then we definitely have to come in the top 12.”

As media interest and public expectancy continues to increase as London 2012 draws ever closer, Smith insists he is not feeling the pressure.

The 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam, where Smith trialled a new routine but still claimed second spot on the podium, highlighted the Brit’s ability to cope at a major championship.

He said: “There is always going to be big expectation and pressure of performing in London but ultimately as soon as my hands touch the pommel horse, I won’t be thinking about media or anything.

“I am trying to fulfil my dream. With my talent and a routine that I am happy with, then I am going to be pushing for a gold medal.

“Everywhere I go people are constantly asking, ‘2012 – are you going to win gold?’ and then I just cannot help thinking about it. I have routines planned that I want to do but, in terms of thinking of it as a target, it is too soon.”

To find out about the BMW London 2012 initiative, visit

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