It looked like the Russians may finally put a stop to China?s golden dominance, on Day 5 of the 2005 Centennial World Weightlifting Championships in Doha, Qatar.
In the women?s 69 kilogram category, 18 year old Russian sensation Zarema Kasaeva came away with a new junior and senior world record in the clean and jerk en route to claiming the gold medal all around over China?s Haixia Liu.
Liu was the top lifter in the snatch portion of the competition, lifting 120 kg to Kasaeva?s 118, after Kasaeva missed her first two attempts.
In the clean and jerk, both athletes made their first two attempts, leaving it to the final lift to decide gold and silver. With a lift of 154 kilos, Liu set a junior and senior world record first, but Kasaeva had the last lift and it would pay off big time. She set the bar at 157 and was solid, collecting the new record in the clean and jerk and the gold medal, with a total of 275 kg.
Liu finished with a total of 274 kg. The bronze medal went to Russia?s Olga Kiseleva, who snatched 110 kg and clean and jerked 133 kg for a total of 250.
There was a scare toward the end of the clean and jerk portion, when Ukrainian Natalya Davydova lost the bar on her third attempt, banging it off her shoulders. She was carried out of the arena on a stretcher, but doctors later reported that she was unhurt.
Russia would try to stop China once again in the women?s 75 kg category, which featured a phenomenal battle between Chunhong Liu and Natalia Zabolotnaya, two 20-year-olds hoping to reach gold medal glory.
The snatch portion of the competition would see three new junior and senior records set, the first by Liu, who lifted 126 kg. Zabolotnaya would out-duel her though, snatching 123, 127 and then 130 kg respectively, to take first place after three attempts.
More records would fall in the clean and jerk portion, with Russian Svetlana Podobedova getting in on the action as well. Podobedova?s second attempt of 155 was good, for a new junior and senior record in the clean and jerk, as well as a record for the total, at 279 kg.
Liu would match that record on her second attempt, and set a new one with a total of 281 kg, while Zabolotnaya missed her second lift of 153.
It came down to the final three lift for all three athletes in order to decide the medals, and no one was about to go down easy. Zabolotnaya found her strength again for her third attempt of 155 kg, setting a new record for total at 285 kg, and then Liu set yet another new record, lifting an impressive 159. That put Liu at 285 as well and she had the edge in the tiebreaker by bodyweight.
Podobedova still had one final attempt left. She needed to lift 162 in order to take the gold medal all around, but in the end, she fell short and had to settle for the bronze medal in the snatch, silver in the clean and jerk, and bronze all around.
China once again went home on top, as Liu took silver in the snatch, gold in the clean and jerk and gold in total. Zabolotnaya picked up gold in the snatch, silver in the clean and jerk, and silver in total.
Eighteen new world records, including juniors and seniors, fell in this category alone.
Adding the three from the afternoon competition, altogether 21 world records was the produce of the day – an occurrence even the oldest championship-goers have never seen before.
No doubt the new 1 kg rule plays a significant part in this game.