Smith picks out stepping stones to London 2012

HUNTINGDON Olympian Louis Smith is focusing on short-term targets as his preparations for London 2012 gather pace.

HUNTINGDON Olympian Louis Smith said he is focusing on short-term targets as his preparations for London 2012 gather pace.

Smith and team-mate Daniel Keatings were given a behind-the-scenes tour of London’s Olympic venues last week, to mark two years until the games open.

However, Smith said he was concentrating on tournaments this year and next as stepping stones to success in 2012.

The Huntingdon pair are expected to go head-to-head in London after conducting a good-natured personal battle over the past two years.

Smith won Great Britain’s first Olympic medal in gymnastics for 80 years with bronze at the Beijing 2008 Games, but has since found himself outshone by Keatings. He finished eighth of eight after a fall at the World Championships in London, while Keatings won all-around silver.

Keatings then added a gold medal on the pommel horse at the European Championships in Birmingham in April, with Smith taking silver.

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Smith insisted that his focus was firmly on this year, despite it being impossible to ignore 2012.

“Everything I do is geared towards London 2012 but we have targets building up to it that we must hit if we stand a chance of doing anything at the Games,” said Smith, speaking at the event organised by Visa, partner of Team 2012.

“So all the training I am doing now is not for London 2012 but for the World Championships and I really want to do well out in Rotterdam.

“The World Championships are a qualifier for the next World Championships in 2011 and then they are a qualifier for the Olympics.

“So I really have to think about what I need to do now, as opposed to what I need to do at London 2012. It is one long chain anyway so it all has an effect on the other.

“I picked up silver at the European Championships this year and it is going really well and I haven’t got any injuries that could set me back so it has all gone to plan so far.”

Smith also revealed he plans to unveil a new pommel horse routine in Rotterdam, with a view to London 2012.

“I am practising a new routine and I am looking forward to getting that out there and doing that on the big stage.

“I haven’t set myself any solid targets but I just want to try out my new routine on the big stage and get it out there and get it consistent and then build it up for future competitions.”