China top table again; Robles ends long U.S. wait

Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:22pm EDT
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - China ensured top place in the weightlifting medals table for the fifth successive Olympic Games when Meng Suping won her nation’s fifth gold on Sunday.

Sarah Robles, in third place in the +75kg, won the first weightlifting medal for the United States since 2000.

Meng had to make her last clean and jerk of 177kg to edge out Kim Kuk Hyang of North Korea, who lifted more than 300kg for the first time. Meng did it and justified her last-minute selection for the Rio team.

Meng occasionally looked shaky, missing her first snatch and her first clean and jerk, but did enough.

“I was at home in China training hard when I heard I had been selected,” she said. “It was a personal challenge for me and I know there was a lot of weight on me, but it was my duty to perform well for my country and I did it.

“I was a bit nervous on my first lift but I stabilized. I didn’t think about how much I had to lift, I just followed my coach’s directions and the end result was pretty good.”

Meng's gold takes China’s weightlifting tally to 28 in the five Games this century. They have never won fewer than five in a single Games since women’s contests were added to the schedule in 2000.

Their total in Rio is five golds and two silvers with one lifter yet to compete - Zhe Yang in the men’s 105kg on Monday. No other team can overtake them.

A knee injury to the 48kg favorite Hou Zhihui prompted the decision to call for Meng, 27. Hou thought she had recovered sufficiently in a pre-Games training camp in Sao Paulo but China’s head coach of the women’s team, Wang Guoxin, made the change.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Weightlifting - Victory Ceremony - Women's +75kg Victory Ceremony - Riocentro - Pavilion 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 14/08/2016. Meng Suping (CHN) of China poses with her gold medal. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov