Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): ExCeL, Newham, London
Date Started: July 29, 2012
Date Finished: July 29, 2012
Format: Total of best lifts in snatch and clean & jerk determined placement. Ties broken by lightest bodyweight.
Zhou Jun, like most Chinese weightlifters at the 2012 Summer Olympics, was the favorite for the gold medal in her division, the women’s featherweight. As a 17 year-old rookie with no major international medals to her name, however, she was far from a lock and was expected to be challenged by several competitors including Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan, World Champion in 2009 and 2011, and Cristina Iovu of Moldova, the reigning European Champion. Zhao’s most distinguished opponent, however, was possibly Aylin Daşdelen of Turkey, four-time European Champion (2002, 2003, 2010, 2011) and thrice runner-up (2004, 2009, 2012), runner-up at the two most recent World Championships, and fourth-place finisher at the 2004 Games (although some of these feats, including her previous Olympic appearance, came in the lightweight category).
Zhao failed in her first three snatch attempts at 95 kg, further opening up the competition for the Olympic crown. The snatch competition went to Iovu with 99 kg, followed by Hsu Shu-Ching of Chinese Taipei, a bronze medalist at the most recent World Championships, with 96 kg, and Chinshanlo with 95 kg. Approaching the end of the event, Iovu moved into the gold medal position with a 120 kg lift in her second attempt, while Hsu failed at her first attempt of 123 kg, which would have tied their total lifts and placed Hsu in first by virtue of her lower body weight. Hsu was then successful in her final attempt, putting her in the gold medal position. Daşdelen, who had been in a three-way tie for fourth with 91 kg, failed at her first attempt of 124 kg in the clean and jerk, but Chinshanlo, the world record holder in the clean and jerk with 130 kg, lifted 125 kg with ease to slide into first place. Iovu then attempted to lift 125 kg, which would have put her well into the lead, but failed and faced being knocked off the podium entirely with Chinshanlo already in the gold medal position and two lifts left from Daşdelen.
Daşdelen needed a 129 kg lift, three kilograms higher than the previous Olympic record set by 2008 champion Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon of Thailand, just to tie Chinshanlo, although the Turk’s higher body weight would still have relegated her to silver. The Turk failed at this weight on her second attempt, apparently injuring her elbow in the process, and did not appear for her third try, which eliminated her from the competition. Chinshanlo, already assured of the gold, set a world record with a 131 kg lift in her second lift, the first broken record of 2012 Olympics. Her third attempt, this time at 135 kg, failed, but this was irrelevant: Chinshanlo had distinguished herself not only as a world record holder, but as a true Olympic champion.
Controversy brewed almost immediately after her victory, however, when Chinese media began insisting that Chinshanlo was actually a Chinese national named Zhao Changling who had been loaned to Kazakhstan for a five year period beginning in 2008. Chinshanlo denied this, but drew scrutiny in October 2012 when the Chinese media claimed that she was in the process of preparing documents to return to China. She again refuted this, saying that she only planned to visit a former coach, but rumors swirled that Chinshanlo’s objective was to train worthy competition in other countries, as China had done in the past by loaning out its table tennis players.
|2||Hsu Shu-Ching||21||Chinese Taipei||TPE||Silver||219|
|8||Nguyễn Thị Thuỷ||21||Vietnam||VIE||195|
|9||Yu Weili||29||Hong Kong||HKG||195|
|14||Dika Toua||28||Papua New Guinea||PNG||174|
|AC||Yudelquis Contreras||26||Dominican Republic||DOM||DNF|