Competition Reports

The 2014 Asian Games Weightlifting Championships Part 1

The 2014 Asian Games Weightlifting Championships
Andrew Charniga, Jr.
Sportivny.press

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PAEK Lihwas (PRK). Charniga photo.

The 2014 Asian Games weightlifting championships were held in the Korean port city of Incheon. This is the same Incheon where the allied forces staged General MacArthur’s famous landing behind enemy lines in the Korean War.

This event, an Olympics for Asia, has grown in significance along with the politico-economic significance of the region which is home to 3.5 billion people. Along with the economic progress so has the desire elevated to make a mark on the international stage, most notably from some big players of the regions like China and India. However, smaller countries of growing economic might such as Vietnam, Indonesia and others have devoted more resources to producing elite athletes which has raised the level of the competitions long dominated by China.

The 2014 version generated more international media interest than usual because the event was held in South Korea. A team from North Korea, a country who typically does not permit athletic teams south of the 38th parallel, was taking part. As a consequence of the North Korean presence, security was very tight.

The weightlifting venue was held in a rectangular shaped building which was essentially a tent. The inside of the metal framed building featured vinyl canvas colored with the Asian Games colors and logos. The outside wall of vinyl was pretty much nondescript. Overall, although isolated for security, it was an excellent facility for weightlifting.

General Impressions

Considerable speculation will no doubt be centered around the fantastic results of the competition; unquestionably, they were, part and parcel, a direct outcome of intense fighting for the Olympic gold medal of Asia.

It is easy to get caught up in simplistic speculation, given the problem of doping in international sport. However, that being said, without some effort at concrete analysis, speculation is just that, an unsubstantiated opinion. And, you know what they say about opinions.

Regardless of specific eras in sport where conditions differ, there is one consistent factor they all share in common. Bring top athletes together for high stakes competitions and there will be fighting for the top honors. The best who are prepared for the specifics of the fighting are the ones who want it most; they are those who are prepared to leave nothing in reserve and are the ones who will come out on top.

And, that is exactly what happened in Incheon. The single, vivid, long lasting impression of these championships was the sight of those lifters who were completely spent by the effort of the final lift and, in some cases, having to sit on the edge of the stage or assisted to a chair by coaches because no gas was left in the tank, not even fumes.

These were first and foremost a psychological championships. Since Asia now dominates international weightlifting, Asian weightlifters have the psychological upper hand.

The Women
48 kg

This class seemed to be the start of a string of sure thing Chinese victories. TIAN Yuan (CHN), the 2011 world champion and world’s strongest women with a clean and jerk 126 kg at 48 kg in the 2012 Chinese national championships, seemed a sure thing. She recently finished 2nd at the 2013 Chinese National Games after failing to jerk 124 kg.

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TIAN Yuan (CHN) Charniga photo

However, her entry here is something you almost never see from the Chinese. She simply did not have it. Illness, injury or whatever, she should not have competed. Looking tentative an uncertain, she made her opener with 80 look hard for a lifter who usually does 93kg.

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Yelisseyeva Maragita (KAZ). Charniga photo

Yelisseyeva Maragita (KAZ) opened with an easy, barely moving feet 82. PAEK Lihwas (PRK) dropped 82 on the back of her neck. She repeated and made an easy lift. TIAN Yuan (CHN) failed with 83 just missing her head. Augustiani Wahyuni (INA) missed her third with 83. TIAN Yuan (CHN) missed 83 again, clipping herself on the upper back with the barbell as it dropped backwards.

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PAEK Lihwas (PRK) Charniga photo

PAEK Lihwas (PRK) sat very low and twisted to the right in recovering from a good 85. Yelisseyeva Maragita (KAZ) did a very strong 86 then followed herself with a slight hop back 88 to go into a bigger lead.

Yelisseyeva Margarita (KAZ) made a no foot movement, bent arm clean with 101 and then a very fast jerk. TIAN Yuan (CHN) opened with a hard clean and missed jerk at 102. PAEK Lihwas (PRK) made a not so easy clean and a fast jerk but with an obvious shoulder mobility problem. TIAN Yuan (CHN) had to sit for several seconds with 102 then suffered another lost jerk behind; her third met the same fate.

With TIAN no longer a factor, Yelisseyeva Margarita (KAZ) made a no foot movement clean and a very fast jerk with 106. PAEK Lihwas (PRK) sat very low with 106 but was unable to recover from the squat. Augustiani Wahyuni (INA) made an easy clean with 107 only to jerk it forward. PAEK Lihwas (PRK) forced her way out of the low squat with 107 only to start the jerk leaning forward. Augustiani Wahyuni (INA) made a very strong clean and equally strong jerk to move into 2nd on bodyweight. Already the gold medalist, Yelisseyeva Margarita (KAZ) struggled to clean her final with 108 and had nothing left to jerk it.

53 kg

The world records at the start of this session were 103 + 131 = 230

This class featured the 2012 Asian champion HSU Shu Ching (TPE), the Olympic champion Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ) and current Chinese national champion ZHANG Wanqiong (CHN). Since Chinshanlo was originally on loan to Kazakhstan from China, the three contenders were all Chinese.

Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ) was the first out with 93. She had to sit and pause a few seconds to get her balance before recovering for a good lift. She then went to 96 which was up but in front. Taking this same weight on her third, she sat low and struggled for balance but saved this for a good lift. She was clearly not at her best; her coordination and rhythm were off. The next Chinese, this one actually representing China, ZHANG Wanqiong (CHN) opened with a fast, easy 97 kg.

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HSU Shu Ching (TPE). Charniga photo.

HSU Shu Ching (TPE) made short work of her 1st with 98. ZHANG Wanqiong (CHN) calmly and deliberately approached 100 for another perfect lift. HSU Shu Ching (TPE), showing the pressure of being in such elite company, almost hit her head with 101. Repeating with this weight, this time HSU sat very low, very fast; before getting her balance to assume a 1 kg lead. ZHANG Wanqiong (CHN) made another deliberate, calm, perfect 102; it was only 1 kilo from the world record.

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ZHANG Wanqiong (CHN). Charniga Photo.

Going into the jerk, ZHANG was on top with Hsu 1 kg back and Chinshanlo the lightest, back by 5 and 6 kg respectively.

The North Korean entry in this class KIM Suryon (PRK) was out of contention with only a 91 kg snatch. But like most of their lifters, she is very supple; her jerk from the chest is at a very high level of skill. She made 110, 115 before missing 119.

ZHANG Wanqiong (CHN) opened with a missed 123 as she lost the jerk behind after an easy clean. She repeated with this weight by correcting the mistake with a very powerful jerk. HSU Shu Ching (TPE) went to 124 to move ahead of ZHANG on bodyweight. This was a very strong clean and an equally strong jerk. 125 kilos brought Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ) to the platform. She made a good, one motion clean and a deliberate jerk. ZHANG Wanqiong (CHN), calm and deliberate, who was very comfortable under pressure, made another strong clean and jerk with 126 to move ahead of HSU. HSU Su Ching (TPE) responded to her, at that point, with a very fast clean with 127 then a jerk which was so forceful she almost lost control.

Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ), who had taken a 120 kg clean and jerk to stay warm, went to a new world record of 132 to move into first. She struggled to shoulder the weight, had to sit a second or two before recovery, then jerked it with a prolonged pause in the lowest part of the split before recovering. It was the kind of maximum effort expected from an Olympic and world champion. HSU Su Ching (TPE) now had to respond with a significantly bigger weight than would have been necessary had she taken something like 130. So, now a world record equaling weight was required.

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Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ. Charniga photo

She cleaned this weight with more of a struggle and stumbled around the platform trying to hold the jerk before finally getting it under control to move back into first by five kg.
But it was still not over. Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ) now went for the gold and an effort to blow out her just made world record by five kg. She just managed to shoulder the weight. The three “Chinese” had put on a great show. Two new world records: 132 in the jerk and the total of 233 kg were the result of intense fighting for the gold medal.

58 kg

The 2013 world champion KUO Hsing Chun (TPE) had been recovering from a thigh injury, so she was not expected to be a factor in this class. WANG Shuai (CHN) and RI Jonghwa (PRK) were the favorites.

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KUO Hsing Chun (TPE). Charniga photo.

KUO Hsing Chun (TPE) was the first to appear with 95. It was up but dropped behind. Gulnoi Rattikan (THA) took the same 95 for a very easy one motion lift. KUO Hsing Chun (TPE) repeated with the 95 and this time made a solid lift.

Next RI Jonghwa (PRK) opened with 98 for a smooth easy success. Gulnoi Rattikan (THA) had the same weight fixed overhead easily, but she let the weight drift too far back. KUO Hsing Chun (TPE) snapped it overhead quickly, losing her balance in the process and sending her to both knees before dropping it.

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WANG Shuai (CHN). Charniga photo

Gulnoi Rattikan (THA) coordinated the effort to lift 98 commensurate with the weight, so the barbell fell right in place. Ri Jonghwa (PRK) made a smooth lift with 102. WANG Shuai (CHN) made 105 easy without even bottoming out in the squat. RI Jonghwa (PRK) took the same 105 for no lift when time expired before she could begin. WANG Shuai (CHN) selected the world record equaling 111. This weight went to arms length easy enough, but she let it drift back.

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RI Jonghwa (PRK). Charniga photo

KUO Hsing Chun (TPE) opened with a good 120. She was still recovering from a lateral thigh injury so was not in top form. Gulnoi Rattikan (THA) made a perfect split jerk with her opening 120 kg. WANG Shuai (CHN) stood with effort then jerked 123 with a little press out. She had a commanding lead of 7 kg, but her prospects in the jerk looked limited. KUO Hsing Chun (TPE) had to sit before standing with effort but jerked 124. Gulnoi Rattikan (THA) executed another textbook jerk with 124. WANG Shuai (CHN) stopped in the low squat; struggling to recover, she had to take two steps but jerked well with 126.

Ri Jonghwa (PRK) followed an easy clean with an equally easy, fast jerk. KUO Hsing Chun (TPE) cleaned 128 but jerked slightly forward with her rear knee collapsing. In the lead with 235 – 230 kg over RI, WANG Shuai (CHN) went to 128 for her third. After a big struggle, she jerked the weight forward to arms length but was unable hold it. Gulnoi Rattikan (THA) had to bounce several times to get up with 132 so was too tired to fix the jerk.

Ri Jonghwa (PRK) had to bounce several times in the low squat; sticking at the top of the recovery, she relaxed and paused several seconds before making an explosive jerk to win the gold. Rather than call it a day with gold in hand, the PRK athletes have to take the final lift to maximum or failure. RI bounced several times with 137 but simply could not negotiate the last few inches of the recovery.

63 kg

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The golden hands of LIN Tzu Chi (TPE). Charniga photo

The world records at the beginning of competition in this category were snatch 117 kg, Clean and jerk 143 kg and total 257 kg.

The contenders were LIN Tzu Chi (TPE) DENG Wei (CHN), JO Pokhang (PRK) and Goricheva Karina (KAZ). LIN was last year’s Asian champion who cleaned an easy 140 kg only to miss the jerk. She had a serious injury in the past year but was fully recovered.

Goricheva Karina (KAZ) opened with a hop forward, step forward 106. JO Pokhang (PRK) followed with 107. She lost her balance backward. As she let go of the barbell, it fell on her back forcing her face down into the floor. JO blinked, got up immediately and walked off. Returning to loud applause 65 seconds later, she made a solid success with the same weight. LIN Tzu Chi (TPE) hopped back without bottoming out with 110 on her first.

DENG Wei (CHN), the 2010 world champion who snatched 110 at age 16 during the 2009 Chinese National Games as a 58 kg, snatched this same weight with a low squat and short pause. Goricheva Karina (KAZ) made another hop forward good lift with 111. Unfazed by her close brush with paralysis, JO Pokhang (PRK) pulled 112 high without locking out. LIN Tzu Chi (TPE) tried to sink low with 115 but the weight dropped forward.
DENG Wei (CHN) hopped back, sat very low, turning her wrists back to secure a good 115. Goricheva Karina (KAZ) tried to hop forward under 116 to no avail. LIN Tzu Chi (TPE) took a chance and bumped up one kilo. This time she stop briefly at the bottom to fix the weight and had to make only one step forward for a good lift.

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DENG Wei (CHN). Charniga photo

DENG Wei (CHN) had 116 up and fixed overhead but lost it behind. LIN Tzu Chi (TPE) was up by 1 kg, followed by DENG and Goricheva.

In the clean and jerk by using a lot of back to pull, Goricheva Karina (KAZ) hopped forward with her opener 131 for a good lift. She followed this with another back pull 135, this time with a shaky jerk. JO Pokhang (PRK) made a solid clean with 137; then, starting with open hands, she performed a fast and excellent jerk. Goricheva Karina (KAZ) went out to back pull 139 but was unable to even get it to the shoulders. LIN Tzu Chi (TPE) hopped back with 140 without sinking deep, flipped the weight off her chest and jerked it explosively.

Having moved past Goricheva on bodyweight with her 137, JO Pokhang (PRK) was eight and nine kilos behind the leaders. She tackled 140 cleaning it easily, jerked it a little forward, scissoring under it quickly for a good lift. DENG Wei (CHN), who jerked an unofficial world record 144 at the Chinese nationals in the lead up to the Games, started with 141. Looking very comfortable on the big stage, the junior and senior world champion struggled to recover with 141 and jerked it a little slowly.

LIN Tzu Chi (TPE) went to the world record 143. She struggled a little at the top of the recovery but made a fast jerk to move into the lead. DENG Wei (CHN) went to a new world record 144, sat in the bottom, got half way up, went back down to try to get all the way up but to no avail.

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JO Pokhang (PRK). Charniga photo

JO Pokhang (PRK) took the same 144 making an easier clean than her 140 but jerked it slightly forward for no lift. DENG Wei (CHN) stopped briefly in the recovery with the world record 144 and new total record of 259 kg. She fought through the sticking point. She was barely able to fix her arms, walking and twisting to get her balance for a good lift. So spent by the effort she started to stagger; her coaches were obliged to help her into a chair.

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LIN Tzu Chi (TPE). Charniga photo

LIN Tzu Chi (TPE) now needed a 145 world record jerk and the 261 kg world record total to move ahead. She cleaned with a slight sticking at the top, then performed a fast jerk to set new records and win the gold.

This was the best performance of the top three in any weight class of the entire games with fierce fighting and great psychological tension.

However, to place this fantastic lifting into perspective, consider the following. OUYANG Xiaofang made 122 + 143 = 265 in this weight class at the 2009 Chinese National Games only to lose to GUAN Xinlei who jerked 147 kg. Maya Maneza (KAZ) missed a clean with a one sided, miss-loaded 146 clean at the 2011 Paris WWC. After the mistake was discovered, the correct 147, which would have blown out the WR, was loaded. She cleaned it, jerked the weight to arms length only to be turned down for a slight press out.

69 kg

The existing world records set by LIU Chunhong at the Beijing Olympics have been pretty much out of reach. So, any shot at a record was remote. The three contenders were 2013 world champion XIANG Yanmei (CHN), last year’s Asian champion RYO Unhui (PRK) and HUANG Shih Hsu (TPE). HUANG born in 1975 technically was old enough to be a grandmother, considering the rest of the field were young enough to be her daughter.

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HUANG Shih Hsu (TPE) Charniga photo.

HUANG Shih Hsu (TPE) opened with an easy hop back sit low 100. Her second with 105 mirrored her first. Her third with 108 looked exactly like the others, suggesting she was good for more. RYO Unhui (PRK) came out with 113. Pulling long and sitting low this was a good lift. XIANG Yanmei (CHN) made an easy opener with 118. RYO Unhui (PRK) took the same weight making it by sitting low and leaning forward. She followed herself with 121. Pulling long, sitting low, very fast; she struggled to secure her balance in the squat before recovering.

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XIANG Yanmei (CHN). Charniga photo

XIANG Yanmei (CHN) jumped four kilos to 122. Apparently, feeling a little intimidated she missed this routine weight for her first forward then back. So, RYO was up three kilos.
HUANG Shih Hsu (TPE) cleaned 121, then jerked this weight easily. Her next with 125 went routinely but she struggled to clean and struggled even more to hold the jerk with her wide hand spacing with her last at 128 which was not bad considering the situation.

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RYO Unhui (PRK). Charniga photo.

RYO Unhui (PRK), last year’s Asian champion, started with 140. She pulled this weight to her chest only to fall backwards in the squat. Taking the same weight, she cleaned it with a struggle but jerked it with ease. Playing it conservatively, the coaches selected 141 for her final attempt. She cleaned this easier than the 140; jerking it even faster, an easier.

XIANG Yanmei (CHN) needed an ordinary, for her, 145 to seal the gold. She made this weight and her next with 150 look routine. She took an already anti climactic 153 which caused her to sit for several seconds before standing. There was nothing left for the jerk. A typical scene for the award ceremony had the PRK athlete crying on the podium. In this particular case, a tearful RYO stood with head bowed in shame over a silver medal.

75 kg

The world records at the start of this class were 135 + 163 = 296.

This class shaped up to be one of the most exciting because KANG Yue (CHN) who moved up from 3rd to 2nd after the Russian positive test from the 2013 world championship had a best result of 290 from the 2013 Chinese National Games. Her top competitor KIM Unju (PRK) got a zero in the snatch in Astana. However, instead of letting her take 137 for her first clean and jerk to at least win the gold in the jerk, the coaches made her stick with her declared opener of 157 kg. She was unable to stand with the first attempt, then stumbled all over the platform after struggling to clean the next two but to no avail.

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RIM Jongsim (PRK). Charniga photo

RIM Jongsim (PRK), the 69 kg class Olympic champion in London, had moved up a class, so PRK had two entries.

The London Olympic champion RIM Jongsim (PRK) was up first with a shaky 118 kg. Already a different lifter from last year, KIM Unju (PRK) caught her opener with 120 kg almost at parallel. The extremely flexible RIM Jongsim (PRK) walked up to her next attempt with 121 sporting a smile. However, she lost this one behind. She followed herself with this weight, had it up easily, but this time slowly lost her balance forward.

125 kilos brought out KANG Yue (CHN). She lifts with a wide foot spacing and typically does not move her feet in the descent. She snapped the 125 up very easily. KIM Unju (PRK) took the same weight for her 2nd and again made a very easy lift sitting very vertical in the squat. She followed herself with 128. She sank low pausing briefly at the bottom of the squat before standing for her third good lift.

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KANG Yue (CHN). Charniga photo

KANG Yue (CHN) took a risky jump to 131 which lacked the necessary effort to descend under the bar. She made the correction with this same weight dropping into a low squat, extremely fast. She was 13 kg up on RIM and 3 kg up on KIM.

Better at the clean and jerk than the snatch, RIM Jongsim (PRK) made a fast clean with very vertical stand up with 146 followed by a snappy fast foot movement jerk. KANG Yue (CHN) was up next with 153. She made a little shaky, no foot movement clean, but a fast, snappy jerk with back knee straight. RIM Jongsim (PRK) took the same 153 standing a little harder than her first but jerked it so powerfully she almost lost her balance. She followed herself with a one kilo increase to 154. Like the 153 she bounced twice in the low squat but this time jerked it with so much force she sent the barbell backwards for no lift.

KIM Unju (PRK) appeared with 156, one kilo less than the weight she was “punished” into attempting last year. She shifted the barbell to the rear of the platform such that there was less than a meter from the edge. She made a ridiculously easy clean and, barely pausing, a fast jerk to move into first.

KANG Yue (CHN) went to 160 kg, the weight she made at the National Games in 2013 for the Chinese record. This was an easier clean than the 153. She paused several seconds before making a perfect jerk to move back into the lead by three kilos.

KIM Unju (PRK) needed the world record equaling 163 to move ahead on bodyweight. She set the barbell to the rear of the platform before pulling the weight in easily with a harder recovery. Once again, barely pausing after the recovery, she made a fast, powerful jerk for the gold.

This forced KANG Yue (CHN) to a new world record 164. She pulled the weight to her shoulders only to struggle to recover from the squat leaning forward. Just as she seemed to be prepared to jerk the weight, her right hand slid forward causing the weight to fall off her chest.

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KIM Unju (PRK). Charniga photo.

The PRK team, not one to leave an unused attempt, sent KIM Unju (PRK) out for a new world record 164 kg. This was an even easier clean than her 163 and an equally fast, powerful jerk. She looked good for 5 kilos more if needed.

+75 kg

Although there were 10 athletes in this class with ZHOU LuLu (CHN) the favorite, it did not shape up as a competitive class. The other top lifters were GRABOVETSKAYA Mariya (KAZ) and PULSABSAKUL Chitchanok (THA). With no real competition the world records 151 + 190 = 334 seemed safe.

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PULSABSAKUL Chitchanok (THA). Charniga photo

The 125.56 kg PULSABSAKUL Chitchanok (THA) hopped back with a very smooth efficient opener at 125. GRABOVETSKAYA Mariya (KAZ), who looked like a thrower recently recruited to do weightlifting, power snatched 130 kg. Sitting low, PULSABSAKUL Chitchanok (THA) made another fine lift with 131. With no real competition ZHOU LuLu (CHN) opened with very light for her 135, pulling back and hopping backward. PULSABSAKUL Chitchanok (THA) flipped 135 up easy but did not sink low to secure it. GRABOVETSKAYA Mariya (KAZ) made two more slow power snatches with 136 and 141. ZHOU LuLu (CHN) made an easy 142 to secure the gold then lost an equally easy 147 backwards.

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GRABOVETSKAYA Mariya (KAZ). Charniga photo

GRABOVETSKAYA Mariya (KAZ) did a slow power clean and a slow mechanical, split jerk with 150 kg. PULSABSAKUL Chitchanok (THA) opened with an easy squat clean and bent back knee jerk. GRABOVETSKAYA Mariya (KAZ) sank to about a parallel squat with 161 but could not jerk it. PULSABSAKUL Chitchanok (THA) made 161 with an easy clean and another bent back knee jerk. GRABOVETSKAYA Mariya (KAZ) stopped 161 above parallel in the clean; this time stepping through for a good jerk. PULSABSAKUL Chitchanok (THA) was unable to shoulder 172.

With the rest of the field finished fighting over silver and bronze, ZHOU LuLu (CHN) appeared for 175 to sew up the gold in jerk and total. This was just a warm up lift done on the platform. She made short work of 183 with a hop back and to the side clean, followed by an extremely easy jerk.

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ZHOU LuLu (CHN). Charniga photos

It was at this point that the two Russian +75 lifters Kashirina and Konovalova would skip their third attempts in the jerk at the 2014 European championships, because the competition was already sewn up. Not in Asia.

ZHOU Lulu selected 192 which is two kilos more than the world record. This was a strong pull, a harder stand up but a very strong jerk. This also equaled the world record total 334 kg.

Of Wolves and Dogs

Docotr on duty

The doctor on duty reacts to JO Pokhyang (PRK) missing snatch. Charniga photo.

This section of the competition reports has been reserved for some unusual or above and beyond what one would expect from elite athletes fighting for medals at international competitions. This competition featured such a high level of fighting as there was a cascading of world record lifts or attempts. However, just setting a record does not qualify a wolf versus dog comparison of toughness.

JO Pokhyang (PRK), the 63 kg lifter from North Korea, set another standard for a “genuinely tough and crazy brave” award. JO missed her first attempt in the snatch with 107 kg. As the weight drifted backwards from an overhead position, JO lost her balance and sat down backwards dropping the barbell such that it fell on her back with her legs extended forward. The brunt force of the barbell struck the middle of her back bending the bar significantly and sending her face forward into the platform: a horrific looking accident.

Any “normal” human being would have lain down waiting for medical attention, an ambulance even and certainly considered calling it a day regardless of having escaped (narrowly) paralysis. JO basically blinked, got up unassisted. She was up so fast, walking off the platform, the doctor on duty had not even finished standing; he sat back down.

The loaders, who typically jumped to run to the platform with each attempt, did not even reach her before she was up and on her way. Consequently, things proceeded as if nothing had happened. The bar was adjusted, the clock started for JO to repeat with this weight. Sixty five seconds later out she came, oblivious to loud applause, she performed an easy snatch with the same weight.

JO continued on to the clean and jerk making 140 on her second to move into 2nd place. With no chance to move any higher, she nevertheless selected a world record 144 kg by cleaning easy only to miss the jerk. Truly, hers was an outstanding, courageous, performance.

Another unusual incident, hardly dramatic, occurred in the next weight class. If there was some doubt as to the intimidation factor of the PRK team, this was laid to rest. Even though the current world champion XIANG Yanmei (CHN) defeated RYO Unhui (PRK) in Poland by 9 kilos, she found herself down by 3 after the snatch in Incheon.

There were 14 platforms in the warmup room arranged in two rows opposite each other. XIANG Yanmei’s warmup platform was approximately opposite RYO’s.

During the break between lifts, XIANG (CHN) had taken her chair with her blanket draped along the back and moved it into aisle in front of her platform, facing the rear. She was sitting in her chair with her back to RYO who was now ahead by 3 kg. Like some princess, she sat with her blanket and performed her warmups with her back to her opponent. There is no “tactical” reason for that other than fear.

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