Olympics 2008: Weightlifting in China

Weightlifting was included in the programme of the first Olympic Games in 1896. However, at the Games in 1900, no competitions in weightlifting were held. It was not before 1920 that weightlifting was integrated regularly into the programme of events.

Along with diving, table tennis, badminton and shooting, weightlifting is an event the Chinese team has had enormous success in. This was again proved at the Olympics 2004 in Athens. The strong Chinese performance helped enormously to strengthen Chinese’s self-confidence. This gave the team further encouragement combined with the rapid development of the last two decades. This helped increase the number of medals won. China achieved 16 gold medals in Atlanta, and managed to double this to 32 medals in Athens 2004.

Below you will find a table of the successes the Chinese had in weightlifting at the Olympic Games since 1984; they won five gold medals in each year in 2000 and 2004 in weightlifting alone. During the Asian Games 2006 in Doha there were 15 medals in weightlifting awarded, including ten medals for China – what a performance!

However, how much these ten medals really say about the actual state of performance in comparison to the rest of the world remains to be seen. “Our strongest opponents are not in Asia, but in Europe, especially in Russia. We must practise harder, if we want to be successful in Beijing 2008,” said Ma Wenhui, coach of the women’s team in an interview.  

Despite this, prospects for multiple successes in Beijing 2008 are seen to be very good. There are many junior talents who could prove to be winners in the next few years. Ma Wenguang, president of the Chinese weightlifting association said in an interview with Xinhua that the young athletes were well prepared for the Olympic Games 2008 through events such as the Asian Games in Doha, so that they will by no means let themselves get worked up.

List of previous successes at the Olympic Games in Weightlifting:

2004 Athens:   

Men's Events:
Le Maosheng: Silver, Featherweight
Shi Zhiyong: Gold, Featherweight
Wu Meijin: Silver, Bantamweight
Zhang Guozheng: Gold, Lightweight

Women's Events:
Chen Yanqing: Gold, Featherweight
Li Zhuo: Silver, Featherweight
Liu Chunhong: Gold, Middleweight
Tang Gonghong: Gold, Heavyweight

2000 Sydney:    

Men's Events:
Wu Wenxiong: Silver, Bantamweight
Zhang Xiangxiang: Bronze, Bantamweight
Zhang Xugang: Gold, Middleweight

Women's Events:
Chen Xiaomin: Gold, Lightweight
Ding Meiyuan: Gold, Heavyweight
Lin Weining: Gold, Middleweight
Yang Xiangxiang: Gold, Bantamweight

1996 Atlanta:   

Men's Events:
Tang Lingsheng: Gold, Bantamweight
Xiao Jiangjiang: Bronze, Featherwieght
Zhiang Xiangsen: Silver, Flyweight
Zhang Xugang: Gold, Lightweight

1992 Barcelona:   

Men's Events:
He Yingqiang: Bronze, Featherweight
Lin Qisheng: Silver, Flyweight
Luo Jianming: Bronze, Bantamweight
Shoubin Liu: Silver, Bantamweight

1988 Seoul:  

Men's Events:
Ye Huanmin: Bronze, Featherweight
He Yingqiang: Silver, Bantamweight
He Zhuoqiang: Bronze, Flyweight
Li Jinhe: Bronze, Lightweight
Liu Shoubin: Bronze, Bantamweight

1984 Los Angeles:   

Men's Events:
Wu Shude: Gold, Bantamweight
Yao Jingyuan: Gold, Lightweight
Zeng Guoqiang: Gold, Flyweight
Zhuo Peishun: Silver, Flyweight

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