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July 29, 2021

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Shi breaks own mark to lift gold in 73kg category

Just an Olympic gold medal? Not enough for Shi Zhiyong.

He set the first weightlifting world record of the Tokyo Olympics as he easily won the gold in the men’s 73-kilogram category yesterday, and said victory alone wouldn’t have satisfied him.

“What makes it exciting is not to get the gold medal, it’s to break my own record. So that means a lot for me,” Shi said through an interpreter.

“If I didn’t manage to break my own record, just to get a gold medal, I would feel regret,” the 27-year-old added.

Shi lifted a total 364 kilograms to break his own world record by 1kg and win gold for the second consecutive Olympics. It was barely a contest for the gold medal as second-place Julio Mayora of Venezuela lifted 19kg less. Assured of the silver, Mayora added his own flourish with a failed attempt to break Shi’s record of 198kg for the clean and jerk, then signed off the competition with a backflip on stage.

The five Chinese lifters who have competed so far in Tokyo have four gold medals and a silver.

Shi is the third Chinese man to win gold at Tokyo 2020 following Chen Lijun’s success in the 67kg category and Li Fabin’s victory in the 61kg division.

Hou Zhihui took the other gold in the women’s 49kg class.

There was a rare sight in weightlifting as Indonesia’s Rahmat Erwin Abdullah took bronze despite lifting several hours earlier in the “B” group for competitors who have registered lower starting weights.

“B” lifters are typically a footnote at the Olympics, but Abdullah stuck around for the evening session as better-known competitors tried and failed to match his 342kg total.

“The only thing I do is just praying,” he said, adding that he was inspired by his father, who was in line to lift for Indonesia at the 2004 Olympics but was sidelined by injury.

Abdullah’s surprisingly high total from the earlier session seemed to cause confusion for some medal contenders. His name and his total weren’t shown on the screens in the arena alongside the “A” competitors, even though it counted for places. Some lifters and their coaches revised their chosen weights for lifts apparently because they hadn’t initially taken Abdullah into account.

CJ Cummings had a shot at being the first men’s weightlifting medalist for the United States since 1984 but it was an uphill struggle after what he called a “terrible” snatch part of the contest.

Cummings had a shot at bronze when he attempted a world-record 198kg in the clean and jerk but couldn’t finish the lift.

“I’m not done. This is a learning experience,” the former world junior champion said. “I’ve got plenty more in me.”


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