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Cao Lei dedicates gold to her mom who is looking down from heaven
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21:58, August 15, 2008

Cao Lei claimed the title in the women's 75kg category weightlifting on Friday, winning China's seventh weightlifting gold at the Beijing Olympics.

It's the first time Chinese lifter won gold in this category at the Olympics.

"I dedicate the gold to my mom," said the 24-year-old who burst into tears in the mixed zone when talking about her mother who passed away not long before the Games.

Cao, 24, totaled 282kg, 16kg more than the lift of silver medalist Alla Vazhenina of Kazakhstan who was ranked first by entry total.

Cao, two-time world champion, dominated the field as she snatched 128kg, and lifted 154kg in clean and jerk, breaking three Olympic records.

She tried to break the total world record of 286kg in her third jerk attempt, by ordering 159kg, but failed. She bowed to the spectators and hugged with her coach Ma Wenhui.

She later explained that she could not focus on the last attempt because she thought of her mother.

"I was distracted," she said, adding that she wanted to go home after the Games in memory of her mother.

China has swept all the golds in the four categories which it entered lifters. Cao said she was a little bit stressed for being the last Chinese female lifter to compete, but was relaxed after the competition.

"We have proved our strength (at this Olympic Games)," Cao Lei said.

Chinese women's weightlifting team coach Ma Wenhui said it's not easy for the strongwomen to achieve a sweep.

"They all have tried their best," Ma said, adding that hard work and better strategy contributed to the success.

"We made tactics together with athletes by discussing with them every weight we ordered," he said.

Vazhenina snatched 119kg, and jerked 147kg.

Vazhenina, 25, runner-up of this year's Asian Championships, said she was happy with the silver medal.

"I didn't expect that I could get the silver. It's the best result for me," she said.

The bronze went to Russian Nadezda Evstyukhina, who totaled 264kg.

"I was sure that I didn't have a real chance to compete with the Chinese girl," Evstyukhina said.


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