London: China looks like regaining even more of its weightlifting swagger during Wednesday’s 77-kilogram competition.
The Chinese have a pair of Lus — Lu Xiaojun and Lu Haojie — who are expected to be so much better than the rest of the field that it’s highly likely they’ll claim gold and silver.
Lu Xiaojun, the defending world champion, holds the world record in the snatch at 174 kilograms and the overall total of 378. But Lu Haojie beat Lu Xiaojun in the Chinese nationals in April with a total that included a snatch of 175 kilograms that would have been a record had it not been cleared in a domestic competition.
South Korean Sa Jaehyouk won in Beijing and will be seeking a second gold medal. But the prevailing thought is that he won’t be able to score high enough in the snatch to push the Lus.
The Lus will try to join fellow countryman Lin Qingfeng as a gold medalist after the first two men’s competitions were won by North Koreans.
Lin dominated en route to the win in the 69-kilogram event on Tuesday night, giving the Chinese three overall gold medals in weightlifting after a bit of a shaky start for them.
In the women’s 69-kilogram event, the buzz has been more about who won’t compete than who will.
That could make it the most interesting weight group of the tournament.
World champion Oxana Slivenko of Russia withdrew from the Olympics because of an injury. China — which has won all three gold medals given out at 69 kilograms — won’t be sending a representative either, so expect a tight race for the gold.
The nine lifters in group “A” have declared entry totals within five kilograms of each other. But Romania’s Roxana Daniela Cocos recently moved up from 63 kilograms and won the recent European championships with a 252 total.
Kazakhstan’s Anna Nurmukhambetova posted a 257 total at last year’s junior world championships. North Korea’s Rim Jong Sim is confident in her medal chances, judging by her 255 entry total. She posted just a 225 total at the junior worlds in 2011.