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Chinese Chen retains women's 58kg Olympic title
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Chinese weightlifter Chen Yanqing retained her women's 58kg Olympic title in Beijing on Monday with a total result of 244kg.

Chen, 29, has become the first strongwoman in the world to successfully defend her Olympic title since the women's weightlifting entered summer Olympics in Sydney eight years ago.

"The Athens gold belongs to me, but this one belongs to all the people supporting me," she said.

Chen made her fame in 1997 by claiming the jerk and total golds in the world championships and ruled the category by keeping smashing the world records.

Chen didn't try to break the world record during her competition and she has an explanation.

"The world record in the snatch and the total belongs to me, so to win the gold was more important," the veteran said.

Chinese weightlifting team leader Ma Wenhui agreed.

"The first priority at the Olympics is to secure the gold," he said, adding that they may consider to break the world record when coming across really strong rivals.

It's the third gold for the Chinese weightlifting team, after Chen Xiexia won the women's 48kg class on Saturday and Long Qingquan claimed the title in the men's 56kg category Sunday, and the eighth gold for the Chinese delegation at the Games.

Ma said it's a sure win game.

"She has been concentrated on the game for the entire competition," he said.

He said Chen had been training hard and has a better understanding about training as Chen had worked as a coach.

Chen retired three times from the national team in 2000, 2005 and late 2006 but returned not long after each retirement and claimed the national and Asian titles. She qualified for the Olympics after claiming again the national champion in her third comeback last April.

"I want to thank my coach Cao Xinmin for accompanying me for 18 years," she told the press conference after Sunday's event.

She refused to disclose her future plan.

"It's difficult to say what will happen in the future, because so many things can change," she said.

Marina Shainova from Russia took the silver medal with a total of 227kg, while O Jong Ae from the DPRK got the bronze with 226kg, beating Thai Wandee Kameaim who also cleared a total of 226kg to the fourth place due to less bodyweight.

No one was able to make any trouble for the defending champion and record holder. She finished with 106kg in snatch, leaving the second-ranked lifter seven kilograms behind.

She jerked 132kg in her second attempt, renewed the Olympic record of 131kg, which was newly set by the DPRK lifter one minute earlier, and bettered the Olympic total record by one kilo. Only two minutes later, she rewrote them again, raising the clean and jerk record to 138kg and total to 244kg.

The rest all focused on the fighting for the silver and bronze as they were very close to each other.

Russian lifter successfully stood out from the scuffle by snatching 98kg and jerking 129kg. Her total was only one kilo heavier than O and Wandee.

Shainova said her training performance is better than the result, however, she was still satisfied with her performance.

"Chen is too strong," she said.

The DPRK lifter felt the same.

O Jong Ae succeeded in her risky third attempt of 131kg while Wandee failed her last attempt of 129kg.

O said she was under great pressure after her two teammates failed in the men's 56kg category on Sunday. She jerked 125kg in her first attempt and failed the second of 131kg, which nearly cost her medal.

"I want to get gold next time," she said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 11, 2008)

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