BEIJING 2008 - TWO MORE GOLDS FOR DOMINANT CHINA

Yahoo! Eurosport
15 Aug 20:48:00 2008
UK

China's Lu Yong won the Olympic weightlifting gold medal in the
men's 85kg class after a neck-and-neck showdown with Belarussian
Andrei Rybakou.

Lu snatched 180kg and, to a backdrop of huge cheers, lifted 214kg in
the clean and jerk. The cheers turned to boos when the jury declared
that lift invalid, but Lu made another attempt and succeeded.

He won with a combined total of 394kg, matching a world record set
minutes before by Rybakou.

A victorious, smiling Lu had his picture taken with the gold medal
and a scroll of Chinese calligraphy that read: "The strength of China
is unstoppable."

Lu said he tried not to think too much about the annulled lift in
his final assault on gold.

"When it didn't pass the first time, I just focused on getting it
the next time and getting the gold," he said.

Rybakou won the silver with a total of 394kg, missing the gold
because of his heavier bodyweight. Tigran Martirosyan from Armenia
won the bronze.

"I knew the Chinese were very strong, but I didn't expect them to be
that strong," Rybakou said after the contest.

Over the past few days, the men's competitions have turned increasingly
ugly as the weights increase and athletes scrape the limits of their
physical capacity, often injuring themselves.

In Friday's contest, Turkish contender Izzet Ince stumbled from the
mat in pain and dropped out of the contest, while Belarussian lifter
Vadzim Straltsou did not return from the recovery area.

Other athletes let out agonised howls while hoisting up around 200kg
in the clean and jerk or collapsed on the mat after their lifts.

WOMEN'S 75kg

Cao Lei won another weightlifting gold for China in the 75kg class
with astonishing ease and said her thoughts were with her recently
deceased mother.

To a backdrop of deafening cheers from fans waving red Chinese flags,
Cao snatched 128kg and lifted 154kg for the clean and jerk, grabbing
gold with a total of 282kg.

A tearful Cao said thoughts of her mother had distracted her during
the competition, where she performed with poise and a fluid technique
but failed to execute her last lift.

"I wasn't concentrating enough," Cao said, her eyes swollen from
crying. "I want to dedicate this gold medal to my motherland and to
my mother, who passed away not long ago."

Alla Vazhenina from Kazakhstan won the silver with a total of 266kg
and Nadezda Evstyukhina from Russia took the bronze.

China were expected to win one-third of the 15 Olympic weightlifting
gold medals on offer, but have already beaten that goal.

Factbox - Cao Lei

Age: 24 (date of birth: Dec 24, 1983)

Place of birth: Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province, China

Career achievements:

Two gold medals at 2007 World Championships (75kg and 75kg clean
and jerk)

Two gold medals at 2006 World Championships (75kg and 75kg clean
and jerk)

Three gold medals at 2008 Asian Championship (75kg, 75kg snatch and
75kg clean and jerk)

Three gold medals at 2007 Asian Championship (75kg, 75kg snatch and
75kg clean and jerk)

Cao won China's seventh Olympic weightlifting gold of the 2008
Olympics after beating her challengers with ease. China were expected
to win one third of the 15 Olympic weightlifting gold medals on offer,
but have already beaten that goal.