By Brian Oliver
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Chinese weightlifter Long Qingquan broke the 56kg world record on the way to defeating defending Olympic champion Om Yun Chol of North Korea at the Rio Games on Sunday.
A noisy crowd of more than 4,000 at Riocentro roared as Om made his final attempt in the clean and jerk at 169kg to take the lead. They cheered even louder when Long, the 2008 Olympic champion, hoisted 170kg with the final lift of the night to take the gold medal.
He became the first weightlifter to win Olympic titles eight years apart.
Long joined Om as one of seven men who have lifted three times their own bodyweight. His total of 307kg surpassed Halil Mutlu’s world record of 305kg set at Sydney 2000 and handed Om his first defeat since the North Korean won in London in 2012.
Since winning in London Om had competed in seven major competitions, including three World Championships, and won them all. Long, at 25 a year older than Om, had finished behind him four times.
Long said their feats of strength made them the world’s strongest men.
“Among human beings yes, we are the strongest,” he added. “But not in the animal kingdom – remember how strong an ant is!”
Om, smiling despite his defeat, said: “The strongest man is the one sitting next to me. I congratulate him.”
Vietnam’s Kim Tuan Thach had stood below Om on the podium five times and was expected to take the bronze medal, but he failed with all three clean and jerk attempts.
That let in 20-year-old Thai Kruaithong Sinphet, who took third place 18kg behind Long.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)