China is an undeniable force in weightlifting. That was clear when the men’s 81-kilogram weight class at the rescheduled 2020 Asian Weightlifting Championships (AWC) taking place April 16-25, 2021, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, took the stage. Lü Xiaojun and Li Dayin are teammates and rivals, and both men were vying to walk away with a new snatch world record. Although Xiaojun did score a new snatch world record of 174 kilograms (383.6 pounds), it only lasted until Dayin tacked an additional kilo and claimed the record himself — 175 kilograms (385.8 pounds).
Check out the full meet below, courtesy of LUXIAOJUN’s YouTube channel. Xiaojun’s world record snatch takes place at 29:48. Dayin’s world record snatch follows up right after at 31:11:
[Related: Weightlifter CJ Cummings (73KG) Sets New American Snatch Record at 2020 Pan Ams]
This must have felt like déja vù for Xiaojun, who was the first weightlifter to snatch over the record standard of 170 kilograms (374.8 pounds) when he successfully lifted 172 kilograms at the 2018 IWF World Championships. In almost identical fashion as Dayin, the now-retired Mohamed Ihab of Egypt, ahem, snatched the world record away from Xiaojun with a 173-kilograms (381.4-pound) lift at that same event.
Xiaojun got back at Ihab when he left that contest with a world record total of 374 kilograms (824.5 pounds). Ihab was the first to surpass the 368-kilogram (811.3-pound) total world record standard with his score of 369 kilograms (813.5 pounds), which he eventually advanced to 373 kilograms (822.3 pounds).
The 81-kilogram class has pretty much been a dance between Xiaojun and Dayin ever since. Dayin claimed the world record total at the 2019 IWF World Cup with a 375-kilogram (826.7-pound) showing. Xiaojun reclaimed it with a 376-kilogram (828.9-pound) total at the 2019 IWF World Championships. At that same event, Dayin took the record back by scoring a 377-kilogram (831.1-pound) total, which compelled Xiaojun to use another clean & jerk attempt to claim the total world record again. It currently sits in Xiaojun’s name at 378 kilograms (833.4 pounds). Yes, that was a seriously epic event.
Current World Records — Men’s 81-Kilogram Class
- Snatch — Li Dayin, 175 kilograms (385.8 pounds)
- Clean & Jerk — Lü Xiaojun, 207 kilograms (456.4 pounds)
- Total — Lü Xiaojun, 378 kilograms (833.4 pounds)
Xiaojun finished his run at the 2020 AWC with a first-place 373-kilogram (822.3-pound) total after hitting a 199-kilogram (438.7-pound) clean & jerk. He missed his following two attempts of 208 kilograms (458.6 pounds), which is one kilogram over the world record he currently holds.
Despite hitting the heaviest snatch ever in the 81-kilogram class, Dayin missed all three of his 198-kilogram (436.5-pound) clean & jerk attempts.
When looking at the Robi points system — the official IWF calculation method to compare individual athlete total results — Dayin ranks two spots above Xiaojun. This means that the IWF will offer a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to Dayin, not Xiaojun. However, Team China can still choose to send Xiaojun if they decline the spot offered to Dayin. Considering that Xiaojun is a five-time world weightlifting champion, the 2012 London Olympic Games gold medalist, and has bested Dayin in every major weightlifting competition in the 2020 Games qualification period, it would not be shocking if Team China decides to send the veteran to Tokyo.
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[Related: Jourdan Delacruz (49KG) Sweeps Gold, Sets Six Records at Pan American Weightlifting Championships]
China’s Record Dominance
Of the 60 world records available in both the men’s and women’s divisions — 43 of which have had their record standards met — 25 of them belong to China. In addition to Dayin’s record snatch, Hou Zhihui hit snatch and total world records in the women’s 49-kilogram class, and Shi Zhiyong advanced his snatch world record to 169 kilograms (372.9 pounds).
With three days left to go at the 2020 AWC, the records books may have more changes coming.
Featured image: @lidayin81kg on Instagram