The only weightlifting gold medal that China failed to win at the Beijing Olympics was in the men’s under-77kg category, so they sent two men named Lu to London to make sure that did not happen again.
One would have been enough.
Lu Xiaojun smashed two world records on Wednesday in the most emphatic victory yet in the weightlifting competition.
Lu Haojie may have been a distant second, but he was still 11kg ahead of bronze medalist Ivan Cambar Rodriguez of Cuba.
“As long as the gold is to China, it’s OK,” Lu Haojie said.
The man who denied China their ninth gold medal in nine attempts in Beijing — Sa Jae-hyouk of South Korea — was injured in the snatch as his right arm buckled at the elbow. He abandoned the competition and was taken to hospital for a checkup.
Meanwhile, the Chinese duel for gold turned into a one-man show as Lu Xiaojun lifted 175kg in the snatch, bettering his own world record by 1kg. The 28-year-old then lifted 204kg in the second half of the competition, the clean and jerk, to finish with a total of 379kg, also a world record.
Afterward, Lu Xiaojun talked more about his younger countryman than himself.
“He’s been doing so much progress it’s incredible,” he said, noting that Lu Haojie beat him at the Chinese national championships this year.
The younger Lu confirmed that the reason China entered two competitors in the under-77kg class was to get the gold medal back from Sa.
“China dispatched Lu Xiaojun and myself because in the 2008 Beijing Olympics we lost the gold to a South Korean athlete,” he said. “So this time is our revenge.”
It was the fourth weightlifting gold in London for China. North Korea have three after Rim Jong-sim clinched the gold in the women’s under-69kg class earlier on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old finished with a total weight of 261kg, a stunning 36kg improvement on the 225kg she lifted when winning bronze at the junior world championships last year.
Roxana Cocos of Romania got the silver medal, while Maryna Shkermankova of Belarus took the bronze.
Taiwan’s Huang Shih-hsu finished seventh after lifting 110kg in the snatch and 131kg in the clean and jerk.
Like North Korea’s two previous gold-winning weightlifters, Rim gave North Korean leader Kim Jong-un credit for her success.
“I thought that it was my duty as an athlete of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to give joy to our supreme leader, General Kim Jong-un,” Rim said. “The only thing that I can think of right now is to run to our dear leader with my gold medal in hand.”
Even when reporters asked where the North Koreans had their training camp, Rim found a way to make Kim Jong-un the answer, saying the team practiced in “the embrace of our dear leader.”
Additional reporting by Staff writer