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September 19, 2000
Two golds and two records for China's women liftersGideon Long
The unstoppable Chinese women's weightlifting team took two Olympic golds on Tuesday and one of their lifters, Chen Xiaomin, smashed two world records in the process.
Hungary's Erzsebet Markus set a world record for the 69 kg snatch but had to settle for silver while Karnam Malleswari gave India their first ever Olympic weightlifting medal, taking bronze in the same category.
Lin Weining made an audacious attempt at a new overall world record in the 69 kg weight class, but failed, her legs buckling as she tried to lift 145 kg above her head.
But she still took gold to give China their fourth weightlifting medal of the Games and their third gold.
The other, a bronze, was won in the men's competition and, if Ding Weiyuan wins the women's super-heavyweight class on Friday, all four members of the Chinese women's team will head home from Sydney with a gold medal.
Chen, a 23-year-old who emerged only in May to claim victory at the Asian championships, won the 63 kg class.
She set a new world best of 112.5 kg in the snatch section of the competition, eclipsing the 110 kg mark of compatriot Lei Li.
She then lifted 130 kg with her first attempt at the clean-and-jerk to set a new overall record of 242.5 kg.
That was enough to give her gold ahead of Russia's 1999 European champion Valentina Popova in silver and Greece's Ioanna Chatziioannou, who took bronze.
Popova snatched 107.5 kg and jerked 127.5 for a final score of 235 kg while Chatziioannou, who was born in Germany but now lives in Thessaloniki in Greece, lifted 97.5 kg and 125.0 kg for a combined 222.5 kg.
Chen then failed in her first bid to take the overall record another five kilogram's higher and surprisingly declined her third lift, which could have earned her yet another world record in the clean-and-jerk.
In the later 69 kg contest it was Hungary's Erzsebet Markus who took the lead at the halfway stage, snatching a world record 112.5 kg with her third lift.
But Lin's lift of 132.5 kg in the clean-and-jerk was enough for her to tie with the Hungarian at the end of the contest and take the gold medal on body weight, which is used to divide athletes with equal scores.
Both women finished with totals of 242.5 kg but Lin tipped the scales at 66.74 kg to Markus' 68.52 kg.
Former world champion Malleswari was delighted with her total of 240 kg and her place in history. None of India's 22 male Olympic weightlifters of the past has ever won a medal.
"I'm very happy that I've won the first for India," she said. "I'm blessed to win the first medal. Too bad I couldn't win gold."
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