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China’s Deng Wei broke two world records in five lifts on her way to

recording the easiest win to date at the Rio Olympic Games in the women’s
63kg. A few hours later the impressive Shi Zhiyong won the men’s 69kg to
make it a double and take China to the top of the weightlifting medals
table.

There was also a first Olympic weightlifting medal for Kyrgyzstan, a first
failure for Thailand’s women’s team, and more disappointment for PR Korea.

Deng Wei won with a lift to spare. She beat her own clean & jerk world
record by 1kg with 147kg on her second attempt. That took her to a total of
262kg, which was 1kg better than the world record set in 2014 by Taipei’s
Lin Tzu-Chi.

Deng finished 14kg clear of Choe Hyo Sim, of PRK, who has stood below her
on the podium at the past two IWF World Championships. It was the widest
winning margin of the seven events to date.

At the age of 23 Deng has plenty more championships ahead of her. “My
performances were good enough to be in the team at London four years ago
but another teammate was chosen ahead of me,” she said.

“This was my first Olympic Games. I was nervous in the morning but 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.”

The bronze medal was won by Karina Goricheva, 23, from Kazakhstan. Siripuch
Gulnoi, the Thai who had been expected to challenge for a medal, failed
with all three clean & jerk attempts.

PRK suffered more disappointment in the men’s 69kg when Kim Myong Hyok, a
close fourth in the IWF World Championships, made only one good snatch lift
and failed with all three clean & jerks.

The glory went to Shi Zhiyong and the Kyrgyzstan’s Izzat Artykov.

Shi became an Olympic champion just the like the man whose name he was
given when he was a teenager. The older Shi, 36, won at 62kg in Athens in
2004 and is now a government official. The new Shi won by 1kg from Turkey’s
Daniyar Ismayilov, who made six good lifts but was still beaten.

The “new” Shi was born Shi Lei. He explained, “I was still young when I
left my family to train and my coach gave me the new name. At that time I
did not know about the 2004 Olympics. As I grew up I learned all about Shi
Zhiyong and I am proud to say we met a few years ago.

“The name means wisdom and courage, and Shi told me that as I had his name
I must never give up, and I should become a champion like him.

“I also owe so much to my coach, another great Olympic champion.” That man
is Zhan Xugang, 42, who won gold at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.

Shi, 22, the reigning world champion, held off the challenge of Ismayilov,
who had finished 13th at the London Games four years ago when competing for
his native Turkmenistan. He has since switched to Turkey.

Artykov, whose strength has improved enormously over the years, wore a
kalpak hat, part of Kyrgyz national costume, to the post-event press
conference. “Do you like it?” he said. “I am proud to wear it, and this
medal is great news for everyone in Kyrgyzstan.”

When Artykov first competed at a major international event as a 17-year-old
in 2010, at the IWF World Championships, he was in the lightest category,
56kg, and finished 23rd with a total of 225kg. At Riocentro, competing two
weight categories higher, he lifted 114kg more.

Artykov’s total of 339kg was well adrift of the top two. Shi totalled 352kg
despite missing his last clean & jerk attempt, finishing 1kg ahead of
Ismayilov.

Lin Tzu-chi, whose record Deng took, was withdrawn from the 63kg a few
hours before it started. According to reports in Taiwan Lin was withdrawn
by her Olympic committee for a doping irregularity.

If Lin, 28, is confirmed to have tested positive she will become the third
weightlifter to have done so in five days. The others were Antonis
Martasidis of Cyprus (85kg) and Tomasz Zielinski of Poland (94kg). They
were both sent home, and as a result of Zielinski’s positive Szymon Kolecki
resigned as president of the Polish Association of Weightlifting.

By Brian Oliver at Riocentro, Rio de Janeiro

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