Chinese weightlifting star Shi Zhiyong will bid to win his second Olympic gold Tuesday in the men's 69kg division, while Russian Svetlana Tsarukaeva and Pak Hyon Suk of DPR Korea is expected to establish a fierce competition in the women's 63kg class.
Following his triumph in the men's 56kg at the Athens Games, Shi upgraded to the 69kg division in Beijing, where he will compete alongside compatriot Liao Hui.
Under the Olympic rules that limit each NOC to a maximum of four lifters each for men's and women's event, this is the only event that powerhouse China send two lifters.
The 21-year-old Liao edged out defending Olympic champion Zhang Guozheng in the domestic Olympic qualification competition after he lifted an amazing a total of 355kg.
China has dominated the division since 2004, but Armenian Tigran Gevorg Martirosyan came from nowhere to claim the title in the European Championships this year with a total of 346kg. Martirosyan and Athen's runner-up Lee Baeyoung will post a strong challenge to the Chinese duo.
In the women's 63kg, Svetlana Tsarukaeva will go out for Russia's first weightlifting gold medal. She won the silver medal of 2007 World Championship in Chiang Mai, Thailand with 250kg. With the absence of Chinese world champion Liu Haixia, Tsarukaeva is the hot title favorite as her 250kg result was well beyond the capability of other lifters.
Tsarukaeva's main rivals will include Pak Hyon Suk, bronze medalist of last year's world championship and a pair of Kazakhanstan's dark horses. Irina Nekrassova and Maya Maneza both claimed 241 entry total weights, which toped all 20 qualifiers.
"All our women lifters have the hope to go for medals," said Baturbek Ozdoev, coach of Kazakhstan women's team.
China didn't enter the women's 63kg division.
(Xinhua News Agency August 11, 2008)