Deng Wei Clean and Jerk

With the European Championships and Rio test event, it would have already been a big few weeks for international weightlifting — but add in Chinese Nationals, and you have an entirely different sort of beast on your hands. Though the Chinese men’s sessions have yet to get underway, the Chinese women’s weightlifting nationals have drawn to a close — and their historic performances may be a taste of things to come at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Two female lifters went above current weightlifting world records, though the lifts won’t count as world records by the IWF; this explains why, on occasion, “national” records kept by a country’s weightlifting governing body may be greater than their contemporary world records. It’s a rarity, but one most commonly seen when it comes to China.

In the 53 kg class, Li Yajun snatched 1 kilogram over the world record that’s currently held by Li Ping. In this competition, Ping competed as a 58 kg lifter and came in second.

In the 63 kg class, Deng Wei clean & jerked (and totaled) 3 kilograms over the current world record; she’s already the clean & jerk world record holder at 146 kilograms. She had a (missed) attempt at going over the snatch world record as well.

For full results, check out this spreadsheet from wlift84, along with full video recaps over at All Things Gym. One (impressive) thing to keep in mind: Though there are maybe a dozen (or more) Chinese women who would have a legitimate shot at medal contention in Rio, the maximum any country can send is four lifters of a given gender. So there are Chinese lifters with real shots at an Olympic medal — even gold — who will be passed over for countrywomen with safer bets at winning.

Chinese Nationals are a great opportunity for the world to see how deep the country’s lifter pool really goes, one we don’t really get an idea of from Olympic performances.

The men’s portion of the competition begins on April 16th.

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