Lin Qingfeng delivered a masterful performance to win a first weightlifting gold for the vaunted Chinese men’s team on Tuesday, while Maiya Maneza secured a second for Kazakhstan’s women.
Lin, whose gold followed two for the Chinese women’s team, finished a full 11kg clear of the field as he dominated the under-69kg class, firing out a salvo to archrivals North Korea, who struck gold in the two lower men’s divisions.
The Asian champion recorded a combined total of 344kg after snatching 157kg and registering 187kg in the clean and jerk, narrowly missing out on a world record attempt of 198kg in the latter.
Indonesia’s Triyatno claimed silver with a total of 333kg (145kg and 188kg), while Romanian Razvan Martin took bronze with 332kg (152kg and 180kg).
“It was about revenge for the two golds we missed out on in the lower divisions,” a defiant Lin said.
“I wanted to show that China still has primacy in weightlifting. I felt the challenge from North Korea,” he said of a squad which has claimed golds through Kim Un-guk and Om Yun-chol in the under-62 and under-56kg classes respectively.
Maneza bided her time before producing a massive clean and jerk to win the women’s under-63kg class, the reigning Asian Games champion recording a total of 245kg, a new Olympic record, in front of a raucous sell-out crowd at the Excel Centre.
It did not quite match the performance of teammate Zulfiya Chinshanlo, who set a world record in the clean and jerk as she powered to gold in the under-53kg class on Sunday, but it was ample reward for the central Asian country’s rise to prominence in women’s weightlifting, so often dominated by China.
Maneza — who was born in Kyrgyzstan and spent her formative years in China, before moving to Kazakhstan in 2007 and acquiring Kazakh citizenship — snatched 110kg to go into the clean and jerk in second spot, 2kg behind world champion Svetlana Tsarukaeva of Russia, the eventual silver medalist.
Any thoughts of the clean and jerk deciding the eventual winner were put to bed early after Tsarukaeva, nursing a debilitating knee injury, bailed out with a disappointing best of just 125kg for a total of 237kg.
Maneza, 26, was home and dry if she nailed her first clean and jerk and the Kazakh did not disappoint, sending a large number of fans wild after she easily hoisted an Olympic record-equaling 135kg at the first time of asking.
Canada’s Christine Girard went one better than her fourth place in the Beijing Olympics to claim bronze with a total of 236kg (103kg and 133kg).
Lin’s performance was equally as impressive as that of Maneza, nailing his third snatch at 157kg among a raft of no-lifts as competitors gambled on their entry weights, four failing to register a lift.