Asian athletes hold sway in women’s weightlifting
China’s lifters won three golds and Thailand’s two as Asian athletes swept the board in the women’s weightlifting competition at Rio 2016, with the two other golds on offer going to Hsu Shu-ching of Chinese Taipei and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Rim Jong-Sim, who claimed the second Olympic title of her career.
The first of the seven golds went to Thailand’s Sopita Tanasan in the 48 kg division. Competing in her first Games, the 21-year-old racked up a total of 200 kg with the two best performances of the competition, snatching 92 kg and then clean-and-jerking 108 kg. In doing so, Tanasan won her country’s eighth Olympic gold of all time, its fourth in weightlifting and the first since Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon topped the podium in the women’s 53 kg at Beijing 2008.
“I expected and hoped for a gold medal,” said Tanasan. “I am very proud to have it. This is the first gold medal of this Olympic Games for Thailand. I am very proud that I got the gold for my country.”I expected and hoped for a gold medal. I am very proud to have it. This is the first gold medal of this Olympic Games for Thailand. I am very proud that I got the gold for my country.Sopita Tanasan Thailand
Japan’s Hiromi Miyake completed the podium courtesy of lifts of 81 kg in the snatch and 107 kg in the clean-and-jerk. “I have been to four Olympic Games and, considering my experience, this time it was very tough for me,” said the seasoned Japanese lifter. “But I did not want to give up. I wanted to win a medal and I did. I am very happy that I have this bronze medal. There are still four years until Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, so I am going to have to think about that as it gets closer.”
Hsu Shu-ching powers to 53 kg titleTaiwan’s Hsu Shu-ching won Olympic gold in the women’s 53 kg, going one better than she managed at London 2012. Lifting 100 kg in the snatch and 112 kg in the clean-and-jerk, Hsu’s total of 212 kg gave her victory from Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines and the Republic of Korea’s Yoon Jinhee.
In first place with an attempt to spare, after failing at 126 kg, Hsu declined it, finishing 12 kg ahead of Diaz and 13 ahead of Yoon to bring Chinese Taipei their first ever weightlifting gold medal. “I am very happy and very excited,” said Hsu after collecting her historic gold. “I want to dedicate it to my family, my coach and everyone who supports me.”
I dedicate this medal to my mother – it’s her birthday today – and to the Philippines. We’ve been wanting this for 10 years, 20 years.Hidilyn Diaz Philippines
Diaz also scored a first for her country, winning its first weightlifting medal of any hue, an achievement that brought her no little joy. “I am so happy. I am so grateful to God. I do not know, I am just so grateful,” she said. “I dedicate this medal to my mother – it’s her birthday today – and to the Philippines. We’ve been wanting this for 10 years, 20 years.”
One-two for Thai duoThere was more medal joy for Thailand in the 58 kg event, with Sukanya Srisurat and Pimsiri Sirikaew following up Tanasan’s 48 kg gold by occupying the top two places on the podium. Srisurat completed lifts of 110 kg in the snatch, a new Olympic record, and 130 kg in the clean-and-jerk to win by 8 kg from Sirikaew, with Chinese Taipei’s Kuo Hsing-chun a further kilogram behind in third.
Delighted to partner her team-mate at the top of the podium, Sirikaew said: “We worked as a team and it’s great that I won silver because we’re both members of the Thailand team. We’re like a family and everything is great. I’m very pleased to win a medal for our country because we represent the people of Thailand and the nation as a whole, which has a population of 60 million. We are so pleased to be able to make them happy too.”This is my first time at the Olympics, so I’m very happy to win a gold medal and bring it back to Thailand. I practised very, very hard. It took a lot of persistence and perseverance to be able to stand here.Sukanya Srisurat Thailand
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” said a disappointed Kuo. “I hope to have a better result at the next Olympics. This bronze isn’t what I was expecting, but I’m going to keep giving my all and try to excel in future competitions.”
Records tumble in the 63 kg as Deng triumphs
Deng Wei was the victor in a sensational women’s 63 kg event in which five Olympic and two world records were set in less than two hours. The contest was billed as a battle between Deng and fellow Olympic debutant Choe Hyo-Sim of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and so it proved.
After Deng, 23, equalled the Olympic snatch record of 115 kg, both she and Choe set new Olympic records in the clean-and-jerk, with Deng’s final effort of 147 kg giving her a new world best of 262 kg, leaving Choe in silver and Karina Goricheva of Kazakhstan in bronze.I said to my coach that I could break the world record so it was within my expectation. I will continue to work hard to win more gold medals.Deng Wei China
Determined to kick on with her career, Choe said: “I’m going to work twice as hard to win the gold next time. I’m not happy with this result. I could have tried a bit harder.”
Bronze medallist Goricheva summed up how much it meant to her to finish in the top three, saying: “When I was standing at the podium and getting this medal I simply felt euphoric. I forgot everything: my hard training, my tears, my regrets. It was just a feeling of light and happiness inside. It’s been a huge responsibility to represent my country, and I’m going to feel relieved tomorrow.”
Gold for Xiang, Ahmed makes historyDay five of the women’s weightlifting competition saw China’s Xiang Yanmei take the honours in the 69 kg division from Kazakhstan’s Zhazira Zhapparkul and Egypt’s Sara Ahmed, who became the first female lifter to win a medal for the African nation.
Xiang took the lead by snatching 116 kg. Though she failed to lift 118 kg, she sealed victory by clean-and-jerking 145 kg. After collecting the gold, she paid tribute to her father: “It was my father who got me into weightlifting when I was young. He loves the sport, but his family and the people around him didn’t really let him go and pursue his dreams. I’m like him in so many ways and I try to get the best results in everything I do. I hope I’ve fulfilled his dreams now.”The YOG was a little bit smaller than this and the athletes were all the same age. It was a wonderful occasion, but here everyone has a huge amount of experience, and I’m young compared to them. It wasn’t easy to compete against them.Sara Ahmed Egypt
In totalling 255 kg to win her historic medal, Ahmed drew on the experience she acquired at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, where she scooped gold in the 63 kg. “The YOG was a little bit smaller than this and the athletes were all the same age,” she said. “It was a wonderful occasion, but here everyone has a huge amount of experience, and I’m young compared to them. It wasn’t easy to compete against them.” Delighted to make sporting history for her country in Rio, Ahmed added: “The whole of Egypt was waiting for one or two medals from our team. It’s a very great honour and I can’t express my thoughts.”
Rim on top againRim Jong-Sim won the 75 kg gold to become the first woman to win two Olympic gold medals for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the first woman to win gold in both the 69 kg and 75 kg, having clinched the former title at London 2012. On this occasion, she won by 16 kg from Darya Naumava of Belarus and Spain’s Lidia Valentin Perez, who collected Spain’s first Olympic weightlifting medal in the process.
Training was very hard and sometimes I was crying when I finished. But I knew that whenever that happened I was a step closer to the gold medal.Rim Jong-Sim Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Naumava’s silver medal was the second successive podium finish for a Belarusian in this event. “I’m very happy but I’m going to prepare further goals for myself,” she said. “I didn’t expect anything but I was pleased to lift what I did and win a medal.”
Perez celebrated her bronze in exuberant fashion on the podium, making a heart symbol with her hands “for all the people who come to support me and love me.” She added: “It may be a bronze medal but it feels like gold. I’m really, really excited that I could stand on the podium after so many years. I am going out tonight to celebrate.”
Late arrival Meng lifts gold for ChinaMeng Suping won the 75 kg to give China their fifth weightlifting gold medal of Rio 2016, this after arriving at the Games as a late replacement in the Chinese four-woman team for 48 kg lifter Hou Zhihui, who failed to recover from a pre-Games injury. The 27-year-old Meng topped the podium from Kim Kuk-Hyang of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Sarah Robles of the USA. Kim’s silver was her country’s first medal in weightlifting’s highest weight class.
Meng’s path to gold was far from smooth, however, with failed lifts in her first snatch and clean-and-jerk attempts meaning she had to produce something special at the end of each discipline. By the time the Chinese lifter stepped up for her final clean-and-jerk attempt, Kim had thrown down the gauntlet with a clean sheet of six out of six lifts to post a total of 306 kg. Meng pulled off some last-minute heroics, however, lifting 177 kg to pip the Korean to the gold medal by a single kilogram.
“I think every single Olympic athlete dreams of winning a gold medal,” said the new champion. “Since the beginning I’ve had a lot of people supporting me and it was a very difficult journey. I am happy that I persisted and I’d like to thank all the coaches and all the people who supported me along the way.”
In taking the bronze, Robles fought off a determined challenge from Egypt’s Shaimaa Haridy to give the USA its first Olympic weightlifting medal since Sydney 2000. Recalling the 160 kg clean-and-jerk lift that secured her a coveted place on the podium, the relieved American lifter said: “My coach said it’s eight seconds for the rest of your life and I thought eight seconds isn’t much. My main thought was pulling on the bar, getting under it and the rest would take care of itself.”Since the beginning I’ve had a lot of people supporting me and it was a very difficult journey. I am happy that I persisted and I’d like to thank all the coaches and all the people who supported me along the way.Meng Suping China