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Emily Campbell vows to ‘finish off the show’ for Team GB at Olympics

Emily Campbell will represent Team GB in Paris (Steven Paston/PA)
Emily Campbell will represent Team GB in Paris (Steven Paston/PA)

Emily Campbell will relish the chance to help Team GB finish on a high at the Paris Games after she was selected as the sole weightlifter for this summer’s Olympics on Thursday.

Campbell created history in Tokyo three years ago when she won silver in the 87kg+ category and in the process become the first British women to win a medal in weightlifting at the Olympics.

Nottingham-born Campbell was one of four British weightlifters at the 2020 Games, but she will be the sole representative for the nation in two months’ time.

The Olympic weightlifting competition for Paris will run across the last four days of the Games and Campbell’s 81kg+ category will taken place on the final day, but the 30-year-old will embrace the challenge of helping Team GB end with a bang.

“Someone has given me the opportunity to be the absolute finale and yeah, I’ve got to take it,” Campbell told the PA news agency.

“I think it will be exciting because by the time I get into the village, we would have already won medals as Team GB and the honestly in that village whenever someone wins a medal, makes a final or does a PB, the energy lifts and lifts.

“So, I know by the time I get in there the energy will be amazing and I will thrive off that. Yeah, hopefully I can finish off the show good.”

It has been a “whirlwind” three years since Campbell walked away with silver in Tokyo and backed it up with a gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

An injury-hit period followed after knee and back issues halted Campbell’s progress in 2023, but she claimed a fourth consecutive European Championship victory in February to lay down a marker.

Emily Campbell, centre, flanked by Team GB chef de mission Mark England, left, and British Weightlifting head of performance Stuart Martin at the team announcement in London
Emily Campbell, centre, flanked by Team GB chef de mission Mark England, left, and British Weightlifting head of performance Stuart Martin (Steven Paston/PA)

While China’s world record holder Li Wenwen looks out of reach after she lifted a cumulative total of 320kg in Tokyo, bettering Campbell’s overall 283kg total, the British athlete is eager to put the pressure on the favourite.

Campbell added: “The difference is we’re competing a little bit more.

“Now we’re starting to close the gap a little bit and starting to compete when they’re not used to competing.

“So, when you can put pressure on people, anything can happen and like we always say with weightlifting, it is all about the performance on the day.

“We know I will be in the shape of my life when I step on that stage and be ready for anything. If a big one needs to go on the bar again, a big one will go on the bar.”

There is also a sense of extra responsibility on Campbell after she was the only British weightlifter selected following a tough qualification process for Olympic hopefuls.

It resulted in Zoe Smith missing out on a third appearance at the Games, while Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Sarah Davies also failed to make the cut.

Campbell is also the only European athlete in her category, but is ready to fly the flag and deliver again in what could potentially be her final Olympic Games.

“I am just happy that we’ve still got representation for weightlifting,” Campbell admitted.

“I’m actually the only European in my weight class as well so I will be flying the Europe flag for us as well, so yeah it is a bit of responsibility but it’s also quite exciting.

“I have not made decisions yet over what will happen after Paris. I will just really enjoy the fact we’ve got a Games this time with fans, with friends and with family.

“After that me and the team will sit down to see what we’ll do next.”