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Who will rise in absence of big star Lu Xiaojun?

Two-times reigning champion Lu Xiaojun (CHN) will not compete in this year’s men’s 77kg event.

He has won the men’s 77kg a record three times in 2009, 2011 and 2013 at the World Championships. In addition he took the silver medal in 2010 behind Armenia’s Tigran Martirosyan.

At last year’s World Championships he broke the world record in the Snatch (176 kilogrammes) and in the Total (380 kilogrammes), which were previously set by him at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Xiaojun also holds the record for most gold (8) and most total medals (12) in this event.

Daniel Godelli and Erkand Qerimaj hope to become the first Albanian athletes to win a medal at the men’s 77kg.

Qerimaj won the gold at the 2013 European Championships, beating compatriot Godelli based on being 20 grams lighter in personal weight, while both lifted a total of 349 kilogrammes.

No Albanian lifter (both genders) has ever won a gold medal at the World Championships. Romela Begaj took bronze at the women’s 58kg in 2011 and Ilirian Suli took silver at the men’s 85kg in 2002.

Kim Kwang Song (PRK) finished second at the 2013 World Championships and is poised to win his first gold medal in the competition. He finished on huge distance from gold medallist Lu Xiaojun: 21 kilogrammes.

Before 2013, the biggest difference between gold and silver at the World Championships at the men’s 77kg was eight kilogrammes (2005, 2009).

The only other athlete competing in this year’s event to have previously won a medal at the World Championships is Armenian Ara Khachatryan. He won gold at the men’s 85kg Snatch in 2010 and two bronze at the men’s 77kg Snatch and Total in 2006.

Khachatryan could become the third Armenian to win a gold medal in the men’s 77kg, after Tigran Martirosyan (Snatch and Total 2010) and Khachatur Kyapanaktsyan (Snatch 1999).