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China win first gold and sets two records

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Latest update : 2008-08-18

Chen Xiexia gave China its first gold medal in the women's 48kg weightlifting competition. The current world champion also set two new Olympic records.

Chen Xiexia gave China its first gold of the 2008 Olympics when she won the women's 48kg weightlifting title on Saturday.

Yelling "jia you!" (come on!) to pump herself up in front of a roaring gallery, the 25-year-old world champion succeeded on all six attempts as she set two new Olympic records with a lift total of 212kg and a final clean and jerk heave of 117kg on the way to victory.

Chen equalled the four year-old clean and jerk Olympic record of 115kg on her second heave.

"This is a competition on the home court. I had the special support of the crowd especially from the Chinese fans and so I don't think I was under great pressure," she said.

Chen played down the significance of winning the hosts' first gold medal.

"The first medal is a gold medal and other gold medals are also gold medals and they mean the same. I don't think it has any special significance."

Beaming, she ran offstage and threw herself into the arms of the Chinese coaching staff after setting the twin Olympic records on her last lift.

She then wrapped herself up in China's red flag as she waved to the crowd from the victory podium.

World junior champion Sibel Ozkan of Turkey took silver with Wei-Ling Chen of Taiwan winning bronze.

The Chinese lifter set the tone early and left the 14-member field to fight for the lesser medals by heaving 113kg on the snatch on her very first attempt, while Ozkan took two attempts to lift 88kg.

Chen Xiexia then began her clean and jerk routine with 113kg, just 7kg off her world record, and no one could equal it, with Chen Wei-Ling coming closest with her last converted effort at 112kg.

The Taiwan lifter and world number-three Pensiri Laosirikul of Thailand made a late run for the silver with failed efforts of 115kg and 114kg in their final attempts in the clean and jerk.

The Chinese-coached Thais, fielding a young team after the retirement of their two gold medal winners at the Athens Olympics four years ago, were brought rudely back to earth with world number-two Pramsiri Bunphitak failing to advance past the snatch segment with three failed efforts at 84kg.

The same fate befell Nurcan Taylan, the Turkish defending Olympic champion who also could not hoist 84kg in the snatch. She knelt before the barbell holding her face in misery.

"I don't know what happened to Nurcan," Ozkan said. "I was only trying to concentrate on my own attempts."

Laosirikul, who had earlier taken three attempts before succeeding to snatch 85kg, had to settle for fifth place.

Date created : 2008-08-09

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