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China’s weightlifting squad leads EAG competitions despite fatigue

Chinese weightlifters claimed two gold medals on the fourth competition day of the 5th East Asian Games, raising their number of gold medals to six out of the total of 12 so far.

“I think the performance of our weightlifters at the EAG is so far what we can offer,” said Chen Wenbin, head coach of China’s men’s weightlifting team.

China sent 13 athletes to compete in the weightlifting competition of the East Asian Games, of which five were Olympic gold medalists and at least another three world champions.

Four of the rest five were rising young athletes that may have a chance to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games.

Olympic champions Long Qingquan, Lu Yong and Cao Lei lifted loads that were much heavier than their nearest rival despite the highly competitive National Games and the World Weightlifting Championships over the past two months. Weathered athletes Yang Lian and Li Ping also took medals as expected.

Liao Hui, also an Olympic champion, competed in the 77kg category instead of the usual 69kg, where he has been by far the leading contender, to avoid frequently losing weight.

Liu Chunhong, the Olympic champion who lost at the World Championships late last month, lost again on Thursday due to waistand knee injuries.

Jiang Hairong, 29, also claimed gold despite fighting in the 94kg category to avoid clashes with his teammate Lu Yong, who has been far ahead of other rivals in the 85kg category.

Several of the rising young athletes failed to beat their prepared rivals from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea after close competitions, but some of them set new EAG records to prove their potentials.

Jiang Zhe and Qi Xihui, both young, will compete in the last competition day on Friday.

Chen, the coach, said the Chinese athletes have tried to lift what they can at the moment but it is “impossible to get back to the peak after taking part in the World Championships just one week earlier.”

It takes at least six weeks for a weightlfiting athlete to fine tune to the peak again after a highly competitive world-class tournament, he added.

The East Asian Games were not as competitive as major global tournaments like the World Championships and the Olympics, after all, he added.

Ma Wenguang, the Chinese team leader, said it is necessary for the fatigued Chinese weightlifters to avoid injuries while going for the gold medals at the East Asian Games.

“We want our team members to learn to cope with pressure and fatigue,” he said.

The 2012 Olympic Games will be by far the most important event next for the Chinese squad. The weightlifters will start preparation soon after the end of the East Asian Games, hoping for it to gradually lead to a peak at the time of the Olympics, he said. (by China View)