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Chinese powerlifting team has good start at Beijing Paralympics
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21:29, September 09, 2008

The Chinese powerlifting team had a very good start on the first competition day of powerlifting at Beijing Paralympics, as they claimed a gold and a silver on Tuesday.

China won five gold medals in both the previous two Paralympics, 2000 Sydney Paralympics and 2004 Athens Paralympics, and this time the host expects more.

"Our aim is to win eight golds," said Li Weipu, head coach of the Chinese powerlifting team before the competition.

Xiao Cuijuan, 22, claimed China's first powerlifting gold in Beijing Paralympics by winning the women's 44 kilograms category, while Cui Zhe, 21, took a silver in the women's 40kg category.

Xiao, bronze medalist of the event in 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, almost met no challenges in the competition. She tried to lift 102.5kg in her last attempt, but failed.

Her winning mark was 100kg, 7.5kg more than the silver medalist Justtyna Kozdryk of Poland, who lifted 92.5kg. The bronze went to Zeinab Sayed Oteify of Egypt, who also lifted 92.5kg but lost to Kozdryk due to weight disadvantage.

"It's my best result," said Xiao. "I treated the competition the same as my training. My body weight was too heavy before the competition so I tried my best to lower it gradually."

"I did my training and competition as my coach planned for me. I want to say thanks to my coach," she added.

For Cui, a silver for her first Paralympic Games is good enough. "I am satisfied with the result. It's my best result," said the pretty girl. "At first I wanted to lift 92.5kg in the first attempt but my bodyweight was lower than other competitors, so my coach lowered the weight to 90kg to secure the result."

Cui said the cheers from the spectators gave her lots of encouragement. "When I saw the spectators and heard their cheers, I was excited. I thought I must succeed and I thought I could not disappoint them," she said.

The gold medal was clinched by Lidiya Solovyova of Ukraine, who lifted 100kg. Solovyova, defending champion of the event, also broke the world record by lifting 105.5kg in her fourth attempt. Laura Cerero of Mexico settled for the bronze in 92.5kg.

China didn't take part in the men's 48kg category, in which Nigerian Ruel Ishaku was the shiniest as he claimed the gold as well as broke the world record.

Ishaku's winning mark was 167.5kg, and he asked a fourth attempt to challenge the world record. The 40-year-old lifted 169kg to set a new world record as well as a new Paralympic record.

Omar Qarada of Jordan took the silver with 162.5kg, while Eay Simay of Laos finished third in 157.5kg.

Tomorrow will see the women's 48kg, 52kg, 56kg and the men's 52kg category powerlifting.


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2 Great Britain 14 11 7 32
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