A Chinese Taipei weightlifter trained by a mainland coach said on Saturday that she won a treasured Olympic bronze at "a home game."
Chen Weiling of the Chinese Taipei delegation finished third in women's 48kg class weightlifting on the first day of the Olympic competition, next to gold medalist Chen Xiexia of China, who broke the Olympic record, and silver medalist Turk Sibel Ozkan.
Zhang Jiamin, a native of northeast China's Liaoning Province who is now the head coach of the Chinese Taipei weightlifting team, helped produce the Olympic bronze after training Chen Weiling for less than 30 weeks.
After Chen's unexpected grab of the bronze, Zhang said at a post-game press conference:"Weiling has the poorest skills among all Olympian weightlifters but she is very strong in power."
The Kaohsiung girl said enthusiastic support from the spectators made her feel like being "at home." In fact, the 26-year-old Chen played handsomely with a snatch weight of 84 kilograms. Her personal best in snatch was only five kilograms more than the Olympic result, after being trained by the mainland coach from a humble start of 70 kilograms.
"I love the people here who fueled me up for an excellent game," said Chen, who beat the defending Olympic champion Nurcan Taylan and two capable Thais.
Zhang said he expected more success of the Chinese Taipei weightlifters at the Beijing Games.
Chen's Olympic debut attracted the interest of Lien Chan, honorary chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang Party, who has stayed with the Olympics since its grand opening on Friday night.
"It's too soon to get the bronze and I am particularly joyous that the two weightlifters from the two sides of the Strait could stand side by side on the award podium," Lien said.
The spectators' strong support for both weightlifters was "a natural outburst of deep care for each other being all Chinese," said Lien.
(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2008)