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Feature: "World's strongest woman" Jang Mi-ran misses Chinese opponents
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14:35, August 17, 2008

Four years ago at the Athens Games, Jang Mi-ran got a silver medal in the women's +75kg category weightlifting as Chinese lifter Tang Gonghong totaled a weight 2.5kg more than hers.

In Beijing, Jang finally claimed the title of "world's strongest woman" Saturday, breaking three world records, leading the silver medalist by 49kg.

Yet, this time, she didn't meet opponents from China.

In Athens, Tang successfully lifted 182kg, which she had only hoisted once during training sessions when she was left 10kg behind Jang.

"I respected Tang a lot," Jang said after winning the gold in Beijing.

After Tang's retirement, Jang began to dominate the category when she won the 2005 world championships.

However, she has been facing persistent challenge from another Chinese strongwoman Mu Shuangshuang since 2005. She beat Mu in three consecutive world championships only because of bodyweight advantage, and Mu also triumphed over her once at the Doha Asian Games.

Before the Beijing Olympics, one of the hottest topics for South Korean media and common people was whether Mu would compete at the Games.

Mu didn't take part in the Olympics as China gave up this category due to a rule which restricts each NOC's competitors to a maximum of four in women's events.

Jang said she didn't know about Mu's absence until the last moment before coming to Beijing.

"I would not be alone if I could compete with her," she said.

She was really alone in Saturday's event.

The 24-year-old took her first snatch attempt after all the other 10 lifters finished. She made three successful attempts and finished the snatch section with 140kg, bettering Mu's world record by one kilo.

She hoisted 183kg in her second jerk attempt, breaking Tang's jerk world record, and also Mu's world record of total, bettering it by 4 kilos.

She didn't stop. She renewed the minute-old records by successfully jerking 186kg, totaling 326kg.

Even her coach Oh Seung-woo was surprised by her performance.

"I had expected 185kg for her clean and jerk result, but she lifted 186kg," he said.

"Challenge has no limit," Jang told an after-game press conference, adding that she would break more world records in coming years.

She said China has showed fantastic power in weightlifting at Beijing Olympics, however, South Korea is also improving rapidly.

"The competition between China and South Korea in weightlifting will be more and more intense," said the newly-crowned.

South Korea has got two weightlifting golds in Beijing till now. The other gold was gained by Sa Jae-hyouk in the men's 77kg on Wednesday.

The country had only got one weightlifting gold in its Olympic history before the Beijing Olympics.

Jang said she would attend the London Olympics.

"I hope I can meet Mu there," she said.

Source: Xinhua

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