They've got the muscles, but do they have the heart?

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, July 17, 2012
Adjust font size:

They've got the muscles, but do they have the heart?

Zhou Lulu is China's best hope in the women's super heavyweight division. [China Daily]

Though they showed they have plenty of raw strength at the domestic Olympic qualifier, young Chinese weightlifters will need to show at least as much courage and intelligence at the London Olympic Games if they want to repeat their gold-medal haul.

"We'll meet more challenges in London than we did four years ago, because our team is built with young, inexperienced lifters and our opponents have gotten stronger the last four years," said men's head coach Chen Wenbin.

The Chinese team has been slow to decide on an Olympic lineup.

It didn't release the list of six men and four women until the Olympic delegation was unveiled last Tuesday.

"It's a hard decision because the situation is different from the last Olympics," said Ma Wenguang, president of the Chinese Weightlifting Association (CWA). "Our team is young, and they must show their courage while competing against aggressive rivals."

Chinese lifters collected eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics; the men's and women's teams each took four.

Lu Yong, in the men's 85kg category, is the only defending champion on the Chinese squad.

The other nine lifters will be making their Olympic debuts. Beijing Olympics champions like Liu Chunhong, Cao Lei and Zhang Xiangxiang missed April's qualifier because of injuries.

"The knee injuries bothered me in March, but I never gave up," Lu said.

"I reached my personal best last week, and I am very confident I will defend the title in London.

"My rivals are very competitive in this category. I would put myself in a position as a challenger, not a defending champion, during my training. That way of thinking gave me some relief."

In the 85kg category, world champion Kianoush Rostami of Iran, Frenchman Benjamin Didier Hennequin and Beijing silver medalist Andrei Rybakov of Belarus all have a chance to win the gold.

On the women's side, Wang Mingjuan at 48kg and Zhou Jun at 53kg are the most surprising names on the roster. Wang replaced world champion Tian Yuan at the last minute to get the Olympic berth.

The 17-year-old Zhou grabbed the ticket from Ji Jing, who set a world record in the women's 53kg at the Olympic qualifier in April.

The 26-year-old Wang won the world championship in 2002, 2003 and 2005.

She was overshadowed by Tian in recent years, but will get the chance to prove herself this time in London.

China has dominated the lower weight categories at the recent world championships, such as in the men's 48kg and 62kg and the women's 48kg and 58kg.

Russia has an impressive lineup and should challenge the Chinese in the heavyweight divisions, including the women's 69kg and plus-75kg categories.

The super heavyweight divisions always draw the most attention in the Olympics. China's Zhou Lulu will join the competition with defending champion Jang Mi-ran of South Korea and Tatiana Kashirina of Russia for the unofficial title of world's strongest woman.

The 24-year-old Zhou consolidated her reputation last year in the world championships by setting a world record of 328kg. Kashirina equaled that total this year at the European Championships.

"To win eight gold medals again is almost mission impossible. What we can do is to perform to our best and to return from London without regrets," said Ma, the CWA chief.

"We do have advantage in the light categories, but there are not enough top lifters in each category. If we have two or three in every divisions, I will be more than satisfied."

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from