Smith happy to shine away from the spotlight
For Shianne Smith, the Commonwealth Games will be “just a slightly busier day at the office but without time for a lunch break”.
At least that is what Smith is trying to trick herself into thinking, as she prepares to become the first Bermudian heptathlete to compete at a Commonwealth Games.
The Montpellier-based athlete said that she was determined not to place any undue pressure on her shoulders before she takes the short flight to Glasgow, where she will go up against some of the world's leading athletes.
“I'm not really thinking about the Commonwealth Games too much at the moment,” Smith said. “I've got another meet in France this weekend, so that's where my head is at.
“Of course, it will be great to say, ‘I was there' but I'm just trying to think about it as just another day at the office — just slightly busier and without time for a lunch break!”
The 28-year-old, who won four gold medals and one bronze at last summer's NatWest Island Games in Bermuda, said that she had fully recovered from the torn knee cartilage that had threatened to seriously derail her groundwork for the Games, which get under way on July 21.
She did, however, admit that the injury had slightly hampered her preparations, forcing her to start her season a little later than she would have liked.
“Training has been going well and I've got a good support team here in France,” said Smith, who set a personal best of 5,398 points at a meet in Oyonnax in June.
“My speed is coming on and I'm been feeling really good in the 200 metres. I'm not peaking yet, though, because I started my season so late.
“I'm still working with my physio, but I'm feeling fit and healthy — I'll be fine in Glasgow.
“My competition schedule has probably been a little different from everyone else, as I'm based in France.
“Obviously, France doesn't compete at the Commonwealth Games, so sometimes I've had to remind my coach that I've got a pretty big competition coming up.”
Smith relocated to France in October 2012 in search of continuity after spending several seasons working under different coaches in California.
She trains full time at the esteemed Montpellier Decathlon Elite Club, which has produced top names such as decathlete Romaine Barras, who won the European Championships in 2010, while Louise Hazel, the British Olympic heptathlete, has also spent time training at the club.
Smith feels immensely proud that she decided to take such a bold move and believes that it has helped her to grow.
“Training here in France with my coaches and team-mates making fun of me all the time has been a rewarding experience,” said Smith, who has been able to work part-time in France.
“I think I've done OK for myself considering when I left Troy Douglas [the Bermuda head coach] joked that France would eat me alive!”