Sun, Nov 23, 2003 - Page 23 News List

Two weightlifters from US qualify for next year's Games

AP , VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

The US clinched two spots for female weightlifters at the 2004 Olympics by virtue of the team's showing at the world championships.

In the final event Friday, the 74kg weight class, Rachel Hearn lifted a total of 220kg, 5 more than Biliksu Musa of Nigeria. That moved the US team ahead of Nigeria and guaranteed the Americans will participate in Athens next year.

"I knew the whole country was counting on me," Hearn said.

The US team finished 15th in the event. Countries sending four-person teams to the Olympics include China, Thailand, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Colombia, South Korea, India and Turkey. Hungary, Indonesia, Taiwan, North Korea and Belarus will send three lifters. Egypt, Japan and the US can send to athletes.

The standings are provisional pending drug test results, which are expected in two weeks.

"We didn't bother them with strategy," coach Michael Cohen said.

The US failed to win a medal at the world championships, but every competitor earned at least a few points for the team standings.

"It wasn't an individual competition," said Carissa Gordon, who earned five points in the 138-pound class. "We knew coming in it was going to have to be a team thing -- exactly what lifts we were each going to have to make."

Also Friday, China's Ding Meiyuan set two world snatch records in the womens super heavyweight class.

Ding snatched 135.5kg on her second attempt and 137.5kg on the next, breaking her own record of 135kg, set in 2000.

Ding, the gold medalist at the 2000 Olympics, was also a junior world champion in 1997 and now has 10 world records and 16 junior world records.

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