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Chinese powerlifter Bian fulfills her dream at Beijing Paralympics
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13:22, September 14, 2008

Powerlifter Bian Jianxin's dream come true at the Beijing Paralympics as the Chinese lifted 135kg to claim the gold medal of the women's 60kg category and broke the world record here on Saturday.

"To win a gold medal in Beijing has always been my dream," said Bian, 34, gold medallist of the women's 48kg category in 2004 Athens Paralympics. "Now it comes true."

"I feel more excited this time, as a champion we should always challenge our limits and ourselves. Even though I lifted 4kg less than my expectation, I won the gold anyway," she said.

Though she failed in her first attempt of 134kg, Bian succeeded in her second to break the world record. She then renewed her record to 135kg in her third lift. Bian failed at 136kg in her fourth attempt.

"It was a mistake to choose such a heavy weight in the first attempt," she said. "I didn't feel good physically. Fortunately, I made it in the next try."

Amal Mahmoud Osman of Egypt took the silver in 117.5kg, while the bronze went to Pa Igbiti of Nigeria in 110kg.

Born on Jan. 3, 1974, Bian started powerlifting at the age of 19. "I used to be a masseur after high school," she said. "One day when I was giving massage to a man, he felt I had strong strength in hands, so he recommended me to powerlifting coach Li Weipu. Li was very famous in my home town, so I wanted to see him out of curiosity."

"I was very thin at that time and my weight was only about 30kg," Bian said. "Coach Li said if I could lift 20kg, he would let me stay. And I lifted almost 40kg. Since then I started to be a powerlifter."

Powerlifting has changed Bian's life. "When I just started training, Li told me that he would take me abroad to participate in international competitions. It was hard to imagine that a disabled girl could go abroad at that time. But after half a year, I really went to Melbourne to take part in World Wheelchair Championships and won three gold medals. It was like a dream," she said.

Bian made her first Paralympic debut in 2000 Sydney Paralympics, where she claimed the women's 40kg category gold. "It was the first gold for China in that Paralympics, so I was very excited," said Bian. "It's unforgettable to me."

In 2004 Athens Paralympics, Bian repeated her glory as she won 48kg category and broke the world record.

Bian said powerlifting really gave her a lot. "It broadened my horizon, gave me confidence," she said. "Many years ago, people didn't understand para-sports. But I am glad to see that they now understand I am a Paralympic athlete. I think this progress is important."

Bian has a two-year-old son. "I want to give the gold medal to my son," she said. "I didn't have time to take care of him, but I believe he will understand and be proud of me when he grows up."

Source:Xinhua

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