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Chen's weightlifting gold puts China on top
August 16, 2004 23:17 IST
Chen Yanqing put China back in charge of Olympic women's weightlifting on Monday when she claimed the 58-kg gold medal with a record-setting effort.
Having swept all the gold medals on offer to them in Sydney, China arrived in Athens predicting a repeat but suffered a shock setback to their plans in the opening event when they had to settle for silver in the 48kg.
But Chen quickly restored China's stranglehold on the sport, hoisting 107.5 kg in the snatch and combining it with 130 kg in the clean and jerk for an Olympic-record winning total of 237.5 kg. China's women weightlifters have now won gold in every Olympic event they have contested except one.
"We came here with the reputation of being the Dream Team and in order to live up to that reputation I had to get a gold," said an ebullient Chen. "After losing the 48-kg gold I must say the pressure was intense.
"I had pressure from myself, pressure from my country and external pressure."
"I am the youngest of three girls in my family but I have brought much honour to my ancestors, perhaps more than a son would have," she said.
North Korea's Ri Song-Hui, a silver medallist at the 2000 Games, made an heroic attempt on a world record of 137.5 kg on her final lift in a bid to steal the gold but crumbled to the mat under the massive weight and once again took second place on the podium with 232.5.
A three-time world champion in lower weight classes, the 25-year-old veteran has never finished lower than second in any major competition.
Wandee Kameaim secured the bronze with 230kg, giving Thailand their second medal of the weightlifting competition.