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August 3, 2021

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Lifters match record with 7 golds

China won its sixth and seventh gold medals in weightlifting yesterday, matching Russia’s record from the 1976 Olympic Games, as Li Wenwen and Wang Zhouyu triumphed in the women’s heaviest weight categories at Tokyo 2020.

The 21-year-old Li had a dominant lead in the +87-kilogram event, lifting 320kg in total to set an Olympic record, while Wang won the women’s 87kg class with a combined weight of 270kg.

Although Li failed to break her own world record of 335kg set earlier this year, no lifters were able to compete with her in the clean and jerk, where she became the last lifter to make three consecutive lifts.

“I would like to thank my coach to help me achieve the gold medal dream here,” Li said through an interpreter. “I can’t imagine I made such an achievement.”

Britain’s Emily Campbell took silver with 283kg and American Sarah Robles claimed bronze on 282kg.

Pioneering Laurel Hubbard became the first openly transgender woman to compete at the Olympics, but her Tokyo dream was cut short when she crashed out of the +87kg final early.

Olympic chiefs say Hubbard’s groundbreaking move makes the Games more inclusive but critics fear it will undermine women’s sport.

After months of anticipation, the historic appearance lasted less than an hour as all three of the 43-year-old’s snatch attempts failed. She dropped her first attempt at 120kg, increasing the weight to 125kg for her second only for the judges to disqualify the effort.

Hubbard had one more chance at 125kg but could not hold on, making a heart gesture to the spectator-free arena before bowing out.

Media-shy New Zealander Hubbard made a swift exit from the arena after a brief statement to journalists, thanking Japan for hosting the Olympics in difficult circumstances.

She also expressed gratitude to the International Olympic Committee and the International Weightlifting Federation for supporting her campaign.

“Of course, I’m not totally unaware of the controversy that surrounds my participation in these Games,” she said.

Hubbard was born male and competed as a man before transitioning to female in her 30s, taking up the sport again after meeting IOC guidelines on reduced testosterone for transgender athletes.

She has already blazed a trail as the first transgender Commonwealth Games athlete in 2018 and won silver at the 2017 world championships.

Earlier, Wang won with a combined lift 270kg, which was 7kg more than Ecuador’s Tamara Salazar who took silver.

The Dominican Republic’s Crismery Santana claimed bronze with 256kg.

Wang was not fully satisfied with her performance.

“I wanted to lift 10 kilograms more,” she told reporters through an interpreter. “I lost to myself in this competition.”

Wang led after completing a lift of 120kg at her third attempt in the snatch following an unexpected failure at 115kg on her first attempt.

In the clean and jerk, she failed in a bid to lift 160kg to break her record set at the 2019 world championships.


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