Huntingdon powerlifter setting sights on Paris 2024

Tom Smith will get an insight into multi-sport events when he goes to the Commonwealth Games as part of Team England futures

Tom Smith will get an insight into multi-sport events when he goes to the Commonwealth Games as part of the Team England futures programme. - Credit: TEAM ENGLAND

Junior world powerlifting champion Tom Smith has set his sights on the Paris Paralympics ahead of supporting his teammates at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Smith, 21, secured the -54kg junior world title in Tbilisi last year with a personal best of 130kg and training with a host of Team England athletes has given the Huntingdon star the motivation he needs to keep pushing for the French capital in 2024.

But this summer Smith, who is on the British Weightlifting world class programme, will get the chance to see behind the scenes as part of the Team England futures programme, which will see over 1,000 talented young athletes and aspiring support staff given the opportunity to attend the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

"I’m absolutely hoping to go to Paris 2024," said Huntingdon's Smith. "The idea of going to a Paralympic Games with the experience I’ve got so far and the potential to gain more in the future is something that’s always there to keep me motivated.

"Seeing teammates’ preparations for the Games in the flesh and seeing what they’re going through, it’s an unbelievable experience."

The Team England Futures programme seeks to better prepare athletes to deliver medal-winning performances as either Team England, Team GB or ParalympicsGB debutants at future Games, as well as challenges they may face at a multi-sport competition. 

Smith trains with Paralympians Louise Sugden, Olivia Broome and Micky Yule in St Ives, who will all be representing Team England in Birmingham and says he always makes the most of the wealth of experience they possess.

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He added: "They always say to me you get out what you put into a session. If you’re walking out of the session feeling like you’ve still got something left in, you then you haven’t trained hard enough. 

"Micky is my sporting hero, just for his attitude and determination with everything he does and the willpower he has in all his training, as well as what comes with that like his rest, nutrition and recovery to get the most out of his training and be the best he can be."

Commonwealth Games England has appointed SportsAid to lead on the development, management and operational delivery of Team England Futures at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

You can find out more about the programme by visiting www.sportsaid.org.uk/partnerships/team-england-futures/