LONDON 2012: Perdue determined to follow in father's Olympic footsteps
VETERAN weightlifter Natasha Perdue is determined to achieve her Olympic dream and put her Commonwealth Games disaster behind her.
POWER LIFT: Natasha Perdue is hopeful to put a miserable Commonwealth Games behind her by qualifying for next year's London 2012 Olympics (Reuters)
Perdue, who came eighth at the weightlifting Olympic test event at the Excel Centre after lifting 197kg, insists that she will eat, sleep and breathe the sport to make the Olympic team and will make all sacrifices it takes.
She said: "It's worth it all, it really is, just to go up there. I haven't lifted very well but just to stand on that platform with a home crowd is great. It's worth the blood, sweat and tears.
"Everyday now, I'm like, right, I'm going to go straight back in the gym and train. I really want to go to the Olympics."
The 36-year-old, who trains around her job as a refuse collector in Leeds, is grateful for the opportunity to reach the Olympic stage after failing to register a legal lift at last year's Commonwealth Games.
"When I started this journey, I didn't expect the opportunity to go to the Olympics but it has snowballed. The Commonwealth Games was my pinnacle but now I've got the chance to go to an Olympics," she added.
"Just to stand on an Olympic platform, that's what all sports people dream about.
"The Commonwealths went terribly wrong last year. It broke my soul and I didn't think I was going to touch a weightlifting bar again but I had great support and I'm still on the platform and wanting to get to the Olympics."
Her father, Terry, competed at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics in weightlifting and Perdue says her aim is to achieve the Olympic 'A' qualifying standard and better his tenth place finish.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth bronze medallist Zoe Smith was set to compete at the event but withdrew with a niggling back injury.
Fiona Lothian, British Weightlifting's Performance Manager said: "Our Olympic qualification process starts in February and we did not want to risk her before that."
Great Britain's Peter Kirkbride and Sonny Webster competed in the B group of the 94kg category, coming fourth and sixth respectively.
Kirkbride lifted 320kg to achieve the Olympic 'B' qualifying mark but says he is looking to reach the 'A' standard if he can stay clear of the injuries which hampered him throughout 2011.
17-year-old Webster was delighted with his performance after lifting 293kg to increase his personal best by 5kg.
He said: "I'm over the moon. I'm more than happy with my performance today, I feel I lifted to the best of my ability.
"If I continue to improve by 5kg every month then I'll be on the way to qualifying for next year's Olympics."
© Sportsbeat 2011