North Korea-China duel expected in weightlifting

North Korea has another chance to spoil weightlifting powerhouse

China’s gold medal quest Monday in a battle for the men’s

62-kilogram category.

Kim Un Guk of North Korea, the 2010 world champion, is up

against Chinese rival Zhang Jie, who won the world title last year

and holds the total world record in the weight class.

Zhang will be under pressure to put China back on track in the

weightlifting competition after countryman Wu Jingbiao finished

second Sunday behind surprise North Korea winner Om Yun Chol in the

56-kilogram division.

To make matters worse for China, its medal hopeful in the

women’s 53-kilogram category, Zhou Jun, was eliminated without a

single successful lift. Kazakhstan’s Zulifiya Chinshanlo won the

gold medal after setting a world record in the clean and jerk.

China’s hopes in the women’s competition Monday are pinned on Li

Xueying, who leads a strong field of competitors in the 58-kilogram

category.

Her top challengers include 2011 world champion Nastassia

Novikava of Belarus, Pimsiri Sirikaew of Thailand and Kuo

Hsing-chun of Taiwan. Novikava got the bronze in a lower weight

class in the 2008 Olympics.

On Sunday, Om set an Olympic record in the clean and jerk of

168-kilograms, joining the select few who have lifted three times

their body weight.

The 20-year-old Om gave all the credit for his victory to the

late North Korea leader Kim Jong Il and his son Kim Jong Un, the

nation’s new leader.

”The reason that I’m able to get the gold medal at these

Olympics is due to the warm love and consideration of General Kim

Jong Il and comrade Kim Jong Un,” he said through an interpreter.

”Because of them, I was able to get great strength today.”