At the Weightlifting World Championships in Turkmenistan, Chinese weightlifter Lu Xiaojun has won gold and set a new world record in the extremely competitive -81kg weight class… at 34 years old.
Lu, who just released his own line of barbells, won silver in the snatch with a 172-kilogram (379.2 pounds) lift, which was exceeded by Egypt’s Mohamed Ihab Youssef Ahmed Mahmoud’s 173-kilogram lift.
[Watch Lu snatch 150 kilograms for 3 reps last year — when he weighed just 77 kilos.]
Lu went on to make a clean & jerk of 202 kilograms (445.3 pounds), securing a new world record total of 374 kilograms (824.5 pounds). He missed his third attempt, a 205-kilogram clean & jerk, but the man still has plenty to celebrate.
[Would Lu Xiaojun’s speed and mobility translate to Olympic diving? Watch him try his hand at diving here.]
Because of a doping-related ban on international competition (and the fact that there’s no World Championships during an Olympic year), China hasn’t competed at a WWC since 2015 and they’re having a heck of a showing this year. Not long before Lu’s performance, Shi Zhiyong broke three world records in the -73kg class. (Watch them here.)
Lu’s success in Ashgabat is clearly impressive — it’s a world record after all.
But the fact that he’s thirty-four years old takes the accomplishment to a whole other level. Sure, Vasily Alekseyev made his career best lifts at age 35 and Halil Mutlu was 35 when he won his last gold medal at the 2008 European Weightlifting Championships, but most weightlifters are done with PRs by the time they’re Lu Xiaojun’s age.
Suffice to say that Lu is in an extremely elite class of lifters and while there were a lot of doubters, we wouldn’t be surprised at all if he does wind up committing to compete at the 2020 Olympics, as he suggested he might in January last year.
Featured image via @gothicstrength on Instagram.