LONDON (Reuters) - The gloom hanging over China’s male weightlifting squad lightened on Tuesday when Lin Qingfeng eased to a gold medal in the 69 kg division, helping redress the poor defence so far of their stunning gold haul from Beijing.
Twenty-three-year-old Lin’s best efforts in the explosive snatch lift and the two-stage clean and jerk totalled 344 kg - 11 kg more than silver medallist Triyatno of Indonesia. The bronze went to Romanian Razvan Constantin Martin with 332 kg.
Until Lin took to the platform, the London Excel Arena had not been a happy place for China’s male weightlifters.
After winning four titles at the Beijing Olympics and dominating the 2011 world championships, expectations of gold medals in the 56 and 62 kg weight classes were high but a return of just one silver medal put Lin under the spotlight.
“The pressure was on, I definitely needed to get it (the gold) today,” he said. “It was about revenge for the two golds we missed out on in the lower divisions.”
Lin sealed victory with two lifts to spare, and delighted the crowd with an audacious world record attempt 11 kg above his previous weight. Although unsuccessful, Lin drew a standing ovation from the ExCel arena.
“I’ve always dreamed of breaking a record to show my own capacity and I wanted to take this opportunity of the Olympic games to show that China is very strong in weightlifting,” Lin said.
The victory takes China’s overall medal haul in the weightlifting to three golds and one silver, after female lifters Li Xueying and Wang Mingjuan took women’s titles.
Clearly stung by the team’s weak start, Lin was in no doubt more gold was on the way. With three male and one female athletes yet to compete, he said he expected top spot from every remaining category China will contest.
Two Chinese lifters will vie for top spot on Wednesday in the men’s 77 kg category.
Reporting by William James, editing by Justin Palmer