The 24-year-old, from Kilmarnock, came second in Delhi two years ago with a total lift of 333kg, although the leading lifters in today’s men’s 94kg are likely to be pushing over the 400kg mark. That represents a huge gap although Kirkbride, who competes in the afternoon’s B group, will be aiming to do himself justice.
“You’re up against the best in the world at the Olympics, this is no ‘Mickey Mouse’ competition,” he said. “It’s the biggest competition in the world and not just for myself but the full GB weightlifting team as well.”
Kirkbride is the final lifter in Team GB’s five-strong squad to take to the stage at ExCeL and he will be hoping to replicate the performances of his team-mates, who have saved some of the best lifts of their careers for London 2012. Zoe Smith, who also took a British senior record, set a new personal best total to finish 12th, as did Gareth Evans (17th) and Jack Oliver (tenth) while Natasha Perdue (12th) bravely battled through injury to record a total.
Kirkbride is looking to set a new PB of his own but the Scot will do well to break into the top 15 of a weight category which contains a total of 22 lifters. “Hopefully (I’ll finish) top 15,” he said. “Top ten is really, really (puffs cheeks) in there with the best. It is a hard group and it is all of our GB lifters’ first Olympics. It’s a bit much to ask for top ten.”
He added: “Training’s been going really well. Things seem to be going right at the gym, it’s just a matter of hitting it right on the competition day.”
And Kirkbride is not the only member of his family playing their part in the greatest show on earth. “After I compete I’ll go and watch some other sports,” he said. “I’ll also catch up with my brother-in-law, he’s working down there with army security.”