Tokyo Olympics

China’s veteran weightlifter Lyu wins gold in men’s 81 kg

Reuters
China’s veteran weightlifter Lyu wins gold in men’s 81 kg

Xiaojun Lyu of China in action during the Weightlifting - Men's 81 kg event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Edgard Garrido/Reuters

The 37-year-old weightlifter sets an Olympic record for all three categories of snatch, clean & jerk and thus also the total, after lifting a combined 374 kg

China’s Lyu Xiaojun became the oldest man to win an Olympic gold medal in weightlifting when he claimed the 81 kilogram title on Saturday, July 31, although he failed to break his own world record.

The 37-year-old lifted a combined 374 kg, falling short of the 378 kg he set to win gold at the 2019 world championships in Pattaya, Thailand, but did set an Olympic record for all three categories of snatch, clean & jerk and thus also the total.

Lyu won gold in the men’s 77 kg category at the 2012 London Games and silver in the same class at Rio 2016.

Immediately after the competition, Lyu showed another side of his life, trying to call his father as he waited for an interview, while regretting that he was not able to take care of his children while he focused on training.

“I only thought about my two daughters. In the past five years I was not able to take care of them as I was in Beijing for training,” Lyu said, holding the medal hanging from his neck. “I felt sorry for not looking after them.”

Whether he will continue his career is now in focus. “If you see me next year, you will see me in Paris,” he said.

Rough start

Lyu had a rough start, with a surprise failure at 165 kg in his first snatch attempt.

“I was too relaxed. The weight was too light,” Lyu said jokingly about the failure.

But he turned aggressive toward the end, trying to lift 210 kg in his third clean and jerk to break his own world record. But he failed.

Still he had a comfortable 7 kg lead over the silver medalist, Dominican Republic’s Zacarias Bonnat Michel, who lifted 367 kg in total.

Italy’s Antonino Pizzolato won the bronze with a 365 kg total after only two successful lifts out of the six attempts.

“I was disappointed but that feeling was replaced with joy immediately after winning a medal,” said Pizzolato.

Qatar’s Fares Ibrahim Elbakh won a gold medal in the men’s 96 kg and set an Olympic record with a combined lift of 402 kg.

Elbakh failed with his attempt to lift 232 kg in the clean & jerk in a bid to break the world record.

Venezuela’s Keydomar Vallenilla Sanchez won silver and Georgia’s Anton Pliesnoi claimed bronze. – Rappler.com