Olympics: Chinese weightlifter nothing but respect for Hidilyn — ’She did a better job’


Posted at Jul 27 2021 05:01 AM

Olympics: Chinese weightlifter nothing but respect for Hidilyn — ’She did a better job’ 1
Hidilyn Diaz is flanked by silver medalist Liao Qiuyun of China (left) and bronze medalist Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan on the podium of the Tokyo Olympics on Monday. Edgard Garrido, Reuters

World-record holder Liao Qiuyun of China was gracious in defeat as the Chinese gold rush in weightlifting was halted in stunning fashion, courtesy of Hidilyn Diaz's golden effort at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday. 

"I really respect Diaz as an opponent because she did the best she could, in fact better than that and that is the ultimate," Liao said.

"She did a better job and it is nice for all the people that were supporting her."

With Liao setting a target of 223kg, just four kilogram shy of her own world record, Diaz was faced with a final clean and jerk of 127kg to win, fully 5kg more than she had ever achieved in competition. 

With a massive effort she hoisted the huge Olympic record weight and the tears of joy began to flow even before she dropped the bar to the floor after a triumphant effort to top the women's 55kg class at the Tokyo International Forum.

Liao took the silver, with Kazakhstan's Zulfiya Chinshanlo the bronze 10kg adrift of the top two. 

Diaz became just the second Filipino athlete to win multiple Olympic medals, joining swimmer Teofilo Yldefonzo who won bronze in the men's 200m breaststroke in 1928 and 1932.

She became a national hero for her exploits in Rio and her profile soared when she won Asian Games gold in Jakarta in 2018. 

But on that occasion China were suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation for multiple doping violations.

China have been dominant since their return later in 2018 and have had it all their own way so far in Tokyo in the absence of fierce rivals North Korea. 

The first three weightlifting golds were all won by Chinese athletes — in the women's 49kg through Hou Zhihui on Saturday and men's winners Li Fabin (61kg) and Chen Lijun (67kg) on Sunday. — With a report from Agence France-Presse

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