Liu smashes records for China
Friday, 15 August 2008

BEIJING, Aug 13 ( - Liu Chunhong won the Olympic weightlifting gold medal in the women's 63kg class on Wednesday, smashing several world records to defend China's supremacy in a spectacular showdown with Russia's Oxana Slivenko.

Liu set a world record in the snatch with 125kg, then broke that record with her next lift, snatching 128kg. Her 158kg lift in the clean and jerk and her combined total of 286kg were also world records.

Slivenko, a former karate fighter, and Liu, a former judo hopeful, know that strength is worth nothing without a good strategy. But Slivenko, who held the snatch and total world records until Liu shattered both of them, misjudged her second lift and achieved only 115kg in the snatch.

The Russian won silver and Natalya Davydova from Ukraine won the bronze.

Liu has said she grew up a tomboy, running around in her parents' apple orchard, and she still likes to munch apples between competitions. She is part of a formidable team of Chinese male and female gold medallists who have been honed to perfection in the Olympic host's sports schools.

China has pulled out all the stops to ensure its athletes bring home many of the 15 weightlifting gold medals up for grabs, dragging one top lifter out of retirement and putting up two others in the same weight class as a form of "double insurance".

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