Om Yun-Chol
Om Yun-Chol

Chinese weightlifter Long Qingquan broke a 16-year-old world record and North Korean Om Yun-Chol’s heart on Sunday, taking a second career Olympic gold in the men’s 56kg-category in Rio.

Long lifted a combined total of 307kg to break a record dating back to the 2000 Sydney Games and end Om’s four-year dominance of the men’s lightest weight category.

“It’s been my dream to break this record since 2008. It’s really hard, all the days and years I’ve spent thinking about it but I’ve done it and I’m so happy,” said Long.

The 25-year-old, who won gold in Beijing eight years ago, dramatically set a new Olympic record of 170 kg with his last attempt in the clean and jerk, pipping defending champion Om into second place.

The Chinese star earlier raised 137 kg above his head in the snatch as he Om and went toe-to-toe in a fierce battle that wowed the 6,000-capacity crowd at the Riocentro Pavilion 2.

Fans-favourite Om, who won gold at London 2012, was his trademark lively self throughout, smiling and waving at spectators and punching the air in celebration after every successful lift.

He recorded scores of 134kg in the snatch and 169kg in the clean and jerk to finish on a total of 303 kg, 14kg ahead of bronze medallist Sinphet Kruaithong of Thailand.

Om, who stands at only 1.5 metres (4 feet 11 inches), has won three straight world championships since taking London by storm four years ago.

“I’m disappointed and there’s nothing more I can really say about it,” a dejected Om told reporters when asked about the end of his long reign at the top.

“I just want to offer my congratulations to my Chinese colleague,” the 24-year-old added.

Long did not compete in London and said it had been difficult to prepare for his second tilt at glory in Rio.

“It was tough but I never gave up. With the help of my family I made it through,” he said.

Long, who is also only 1.5 metres tall, added that a lot had changed in the eight years between his two Olympic golds.

“I was a young man when I first won. Eight years later and I’m married and I’m going to be a father.

“I’d like dedicate this medal to my baby who is going to be born soon,” he said,smiling.

Long’s combined total weight was two kgs better than Halil Mutlu of Turkey’s record of 305 kg set Down Under.

After he did it, Long lept into the air and punched the sky before hugging his coach as the noisy crowd roared the gold medallist. – Agence France-Presse

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