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Sad lifter Li Yajun vows to fight for next Olympics

HOLDING tears in her eyes, a sad Li Yajun was determined to get rid of the bad memories in Rio and trained harder for the next Olympic Games four years later.   

Li, one of the gold medal favorite in the women's 53kg weightlifting, hoisted 101kg in the snatch but failed all three jerk attempts. The 23-year-old Chinese complained that she and her coaches did not realize the referees had invalidated her first jerk of 123kg due to elbow bending until the close of the competition. 
"I noticed the referees gave me two white lights and one red light, which meant I succeeded. But I didn't know that the jury later changed its decision," Li said. 
Technical official Karl Rimbock told Xinhua that it was clear that Li bent her left elbow during the jerk and the jury had the right to change the result. Unaware of the change, Li attempted to jerk 126kg but failed both attempts. 
"I can easily lift 126kg in practices, but I don't feel well in the jerk. I know my family and my supporter feel pitiful, too. I will continue to work hard for the next Olympics," Li added.
Li Yajun, growing in a single-parent family, stayed in her uncle's home in a small village in Guangdong province when her mother worked in the town to raise Li and her little brother until she was selected by the sports school in town.
"All I thought at that time was living with my mum, so I was very happy to say yes to the coach then I could go to the town," Li explained why she started to practice weightlifting.
Life was not easy for Li's mother as she worried about the sports school fee of several thousand RMB per year, but she still supported her daughter by working in a factory to make a living.
"Li Zhifeng, my first coach, helped me a lot even sometimes I could not afford the fee,"  said Li.
In 2013, Li was enrolled into the national team and stole the spotlight as she won the gold medal with a total of 221kg in the world championships that year and the bronze in the 2014 worlds. She hoisted 232kg in total at the national championships in April to take the Rio Olympic berth.
"I want to have a good rest first and find the inside peace of myself. I need time to recover," said Li. "Maybe I will bring my mum for a trip and then go back to the daily training," she added.  


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