OLYMPICS/Kuo Hsing-chun wins Taiwan's first gold medal in Tokyo (update)

07/27/2021 09:30 PM
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CNA photo July 27, 2021
CNA photo July 27, 2021

Taipei, July 27 (CNA) Taiwanese weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳) completed her elusive quest for Olympic gold Tuesday, clinching Taiwan's first win at the Tokyo Games by setting Olympic records in the women's 59kg weight class.

Kuo, who has not lost a major competition in her weight class since the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where she was hampered by injury and finished third, finally chased down her first Olympic gold medal that had long remained just out of her grasp.

Speaking after the competition, Kuo said that with her Olympic gold, she had "completed the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle."

The 27-year-old said she hoped her win would help to uplift and empower others, and she attributed her success to the support and encouragement she had received from countless people over the years.

Long regarded as Taiwan's main hope for a gold medal in Tokyo, Kuo achieved a victory that was not as easy as it seemed, even for her, as she said she had been experiencing pain in her left thigh.

Kuo Hsing-chun gives a thumb to let an Olympic official know she was fine after a failed attempt. CNA photo July 27, 2021
Kuo Hsing-chun gives a thumb to let an Olympic official know she was fine after a failed attempt. CNA photo July 27, 2021

The weightlifter said she managed to hold on throughout the competition by keeping faith in herself. She did not, however, disclose the cause of her leg pain.

Kuo finished in the 59kg category with a combined lift of 236 kilograms -- 103 kg. in the snatch and 133 kg. in the clean and jerk -- 19 kg. more than the runner-up Polina Guryeva of Turkmenistan.

Japan's Mikiko Andoh, meanwhile, obtained the bronze medal with 214 kg. lift.

Kuo's snatch, clean and jerk, and combined lifts were all Olympic records but well off her combined world record of 247 kg., on a day when winning gold was the main order of business.

Weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun laughs on the ground after her failed attempt to lift 141 kg. CNA photo July 27, 2021
Weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun laughs on the ground after her failed attempt to lift 141 kg. CNA photo July 27, 2021

A weightlifting competition consists of two parts, including the snatch, in which an athlete lifts the bar from the floor to above the head in one movement, as well as the clean and jerk, which requires the athlete to first bring the bar up to their chest before jerking it overhead.

Athletes compete by performing each of the two types of lifts three times and adding together the biggest weight lifted in each. The person who scores the highest combined weight wins the competition.

On Tuesday, Kuo kicked off her first attempt in the snatch with a lift of 100 kg., which was higher than any of the attempts by her opponents.

CNA photo July 27, 2021
CNA photo July 27, 2021

By the time Kuo successfully lifted 125 kg. in her first attempt in the clean and jerk, she had effectively won the title, as her combined lift outweighed that of all the other athletes.

She lifted to 133 kg. and 141 kg. in the subsequent attempts and failed only the final attempt.

Speaking about her last attempt in the clean and jerk, Kuo said she was seeking to break her own record at the 2019 World Championships in Pattaya, where she finished with a lift of 140 kg.

"That probably tells me that I should go on to the next Olympics," Kuo said, expressing regret about not smashing the record.

With Kuo's victory on Tuesday, Taiwan had bagged one gold, two silver and two bronze medals in Tokyo.

(By Long Bo-an and Teng Pei-ju)

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