Chinese weightlifters to make history at Tokyo Olympics
Written by tokyoclub on July 23, 2021
TOKYO, July 23 (Xinhua) — Led by Olympic champions Lyu Xiaojun and Shi Zhiyong, China’s weightlifting team aims to win more than five gold medals at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Having secured a full Olympic quota of eight slots, the Chinese team was cautious in deciding its lineup of four men and four women. The squad is a mixture of experience and youth, with the 36-year-old Lyu being the oldest and the 21-year-old Li Wenwen the youngest.
“The roster was decided after a number of factors had been taken into consideration, such as the athletes’ consistency in training, competitions, major event experience, psychological conditions and injuries, as well as major opponents in the world,” said the Chinese weightlifting team.
All the eight lifters named in the Tokyo-bound squad claimed titles at the Asian Championships in Uzbekistan in April, which was viewed as an important reference for the Olympic selection.
At the Tokyo Olympics, the Chinese team will participate in the women’s 49kg, 55kg, 87kg and +87kg categories, as well as men’s 61kg, 67kg, 73kg and 81kg categories.
Unlike previous Olympics, the Chinese team refused to talk about their specific goal in public this time, only saying that “striving for the best record”.
“There’s no easy job at the Olympics. We face more challenges than five years ago because our team is young and inexperienced and we don’t know about our opponents due to a lack of competition for more than one year,” said Zhou Jinqiang, president of the Chinese Weightlifting Association.
“Our lifters must show their courage while competing against the strongest rivals,” he added.
Lyu, the reigning world champion, is searching for a second Olympic gold in men’s 83kg class after he won in London 2012.
“I enjoy every competition, and I hope I can make my two daughters proud of me,” said Lyu, whose wife is also a former weightlifter in the Chinese team.
Shi Zhiyong, the current world record holder, has an edge in the men’s 73kg class, but several others can pose a threat.
“I’m confident of winning the gold medal. Taking gold is my dream, and if I feel good that day, maybe I will try to break world records,” said Shi.
Li Fabin (men’s 61kg) and Chen Lijun (men’s 68kg) will also face stiff competition from Indonesia, Colombia and Uzbekistan strongmen.
In the women’s event, Chinese lifters are also the ones to beat.
Hou Zhihui set two world records in the 49kg in this year’s Asian championships, and Liao Qiuyun is also the current holder of two world records in the 55kg division.
Li Wenwen, the women’s over 87kg class, broke her own world records in over 87kg class at the Asian championships in April, while Wang Zhouyu produced world’s leading results of 286kg twice since last year’s national championships.