Jul 28, 2012 4:23 PM
LONDON (AP) - Four-time weightlifting world champion Wang Mingjuan can finally call herself Olympic champion, too.
After missing the games in 2004 and 2008 with injuries, Wang dominated the women's 48-kilogram category Saturday to win gold for China in the first weightlifting event at the London Games.
"I hope this medal will provide encouragement for the rest of the team," she said.
She snatched 91 kilograms and lifted 114 kilograms in the clean and jerk for a total of 205 kilograms.
That was 8 kilograms better than Japan's silver medalist Hiromi Miyake, whose uncle and father finished first and third at the 1968 Olympics. Ryang Chun Hwa of North Korea won the bronze with a total of 192 kilograms, while Thai medal favorite Panida Khamsri failed at three snatch attempts at 81 kilograms.
Miyake called her victory "a dream come true."
"I'm very proud of myself," she said.
So was her father and coach Yoshiyuki Miyake. He politely shook her hand and rubbed her silver medal as Japanese photographers crowded around them.
He had to settle for bronze in the 1968 Olympics when his brother Yoshinobu Miyake won the gold medal in the featherweight category. Yoshinobu Miyake also won gold at the 1964 Olympics and a silver medal in the 1960 Games.
China is expected to top the weightlifting medal standings in London, although it's facing stiffer competition than in Beijing four years ago, when Chinese competitors won eight of the nine categories they entered.
Wang is unbeaten in international competitions and was selected by the Chinese coaches for the Olympics despite finishing second to Tian Yuan in the national championships this year.
Asked why she thought China had become such a powerhouse in women's weightlifting, Wang had a short answer. "Because our country is really strong," she said, smiling confidently.
After failing her first snatch - a lift performed in one continuous motion - Wang comfortably cleared her second and third attempts to head into the clean and jerk with a 4-kilogram advantage over Miyake.
She sealed the win by hoisting 114-kilograms in her second clean and jerk, a two-part lift in which the bar is lifted to shoulder height before being pushed overhead. Seeking to improve her margin of victory, she failed her final attempt at 116 kilograms.
China could increase its medal tally Sunday. Double world champion Wu Jingbiao is the favorite in the men's 56-kilogram category, while 17-year-old Zhou Jun has a shot at reaching the podium in the women's 53-kilogram class.
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