Japan lifter Miyake watches China but says biggest rival is herself

Tue Feb 2, 2016 9:23pm EST
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By Teppei Kasai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Hiromi Miyake knows weightlifting powerhouse China will be looking to dominate the event at the 2016 Olympics but the London Games silver medalist says her biggest rival in the run-up to Rio is herself.

The 30-year-old, who will compete in a fourth Olympics, hails from a Japanese weightlifting dynasty. Her uncle Yoshinobu won gold at the 1964 and 1968 Games, while her father and coach Yoshiyuki took bronze in 1968.

In 2012, competing in the 48-kilogram class, she lost out on the gold to China's Wang Mingjuan, who extended a 10-year unbeaten record to lift a combined total of 205 kg, beating Miyake by 8 kg.

"China is definitely our strongest competitor by country, but I think my biggest rival is within," the soft-spoken Miyake told Reuters on the sidelines of a recent training session.

"I'll work firmly towards my goals and hope that when I compete with the top Chinese athletes, I can compete offensively and not defensively. Beyond that there may be something, but before that, I want to win out over my own weakness."

Miyake, who stands all of 1.4 meters (4 ft 9 inches) tall, studied piano from childhood before switching to weightlifting after being inspired to compete by the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

She initially wavered between wrestling, judo and weightlifting before deciding to take up the family sport.

"Wrestling and judo, you have to start from really young," she said. "I hate to lose and thought that by starting in high school, we'd all be at the same level.   Continued...

Nov 21, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Hiromi Miyake, from Japan lifts in the women's 48kg division at the International Weightlifting Federation World Championships at George R. Brown Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports - RTX1V8LN