Record-breaking teenager Pei wins world title in first international competition
By Brian Oliver
PEI Xinyi (CHN), who is young enough to compete as a youth, won a senior world title in her first international competition at the IWF World Championships in Bogotá, Colombia.
Pei, who was 17 in October, set a youth world record with her first ever lift, bettered it and secured a snatch gold medal with her second, and bettered it yet again with her third to build a lead of 4kg half-way through the women’s 64kg A Group.
There were two more record-breaking lifts as Pei made a sweep of youth world records and claimed victory on 105-128-233.
Pei failed with her final attempt of 135kg but still finished well ahead of Rattanawan WAMALUN (THA) on 101-126-227 and the Pan American champion Nathalia LLAMOSA (COL) on 101-123-224.
What made Pei’s performance even more impressive is that she is really a 59kg lifter. She was deliberately entered in the less pressurised 64kg for her first competition, and weighed in at 59.3kg. That means she was giving away more 4kg in weight advantage to most of her rivals.
If Pei had been 300 grammes lighter and competed instead at 59kg here on Thursday, a repeat of her 105-128-233 performance would have put her ahead of two Olympic champions, KUO Hsing-Chun (TPE) and Maude CHARRON (CAN), as well as two of her senior team-mates, LUO Shifang (CHN) and LUO Xiaomin (CHN).
Wang Guoxin, coach of the China women’s team, said before the World Championships that he would not put too much pressure on the young lifters and would encourage them to learn through competitions.
“Our goal at the World Championships is to let athletes gradually find their rhythm of competing in major events,” he said last week.
Did it work for Pei? “Yes, I was nervous at the start, but very happy,” she said, before confirming that she will now return to 59kg.
She is the youngest member of China’s national team, which she joined in December last year.
“I have learned a lot from elder members of the team, they teach me about things I don’t know and help me a lot,” Pei said. “They have helped me to grow up and be more confident.”
Pei, who has no history of weightlifting in her family, took up the sport at junior school in 2014 before becoming a youth champion in Zhejiang Province in 2016. Now, at her first attempt, she is a senior world champion.
Llamosa took silver in the snatch and bronze in clean and jerk, while Wamalun had bronze in snatch and silver in clean and jerk.
The European and Asian champions Mariia HANHUR (UKR) and PHAM Thi Hong (VIE) both failed to make a total in a session that featured as many no-lifts as good lifts.