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Chen takes Kim’s title – and his world record

By Brian Oliver at the George R Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas

Two more world records fell as athletes from China and North Korea gave the crowd at the 2015 IWF World Championships a spectacular session of sport for the second straight day.

On Saturday, records fell in the 56kg when Om Yun Chol of PR Korea claimed victory over Wu Jingbiao. On Sunday the star was China’s Chen Lijun, who set a double world record in the 62kg to dethrone Kim Un Guk.

Chen was assured of the gold medal with a lift to spare when Kim failed to make 179kg in the clean & jerk. Kim, the 2012 Olympic and 2014 world champion, finished 4kg short of his world record with a total of 328kg.

Chen, 22, who had beaten Kim in the 2013 IWF World Championships, went for a final attempt at 183kg. He made it to set a world best for clean & jerk and, on 333kg, total.

“I give him my special congratulations,” said a gracious Kim, 27, afterwards. Chen said he had felt confident and “it would be my dream” to break the record again at the Olympic Games next summer.

Both men vowed to train even harder but it may not be a head-to-head contest. Valentin Hristov, of Azerbaijan, finished third in the snatch, clean & jerk and total, and believes he can close on the top two.

In the women’s 53kg Hsu Shu-Ching, of Taipei, won gold with her final lift, relegating China’s Chen Xiaoting to second place. Hidilyn Diaz, of the Philippines, took bronze in the snatch, the clean & jerk and the total.

The Chinese lifter led by 5kg after the snatch and after missing her first two attempts at 120kg in the clean & jerk she looked in trouble. But Chen made her third attempt and Hsu, who holds the 233kg world record for total, had to lift 125kg to win on body weight. She made it, to the delight of a noisy band of flag-waving Taipei fans in the audience.

“My form has not been very good this year and I would like to say thank you for that support from the Chinese Taipei community here,” said Hsu.

Last year’s winner Zulfiya Chinshanlo – who finished well ahead of Hsu in Almaty – did not defend her title and her fellow Kazakh Margarita Yelisseyeva moved up from 48kg to take her place. Yelisseyeva, who made her first five lifts, looked very pleased with a total of 202kg.

There were more good performances from Sopita Tanasan of Thailand, who finished fourth on total for the second straight year, and two teenagers. Rattanaphon Pakkaratha, 18, also from Thailand, posted 89-116-205 and the 17-year-old Latvian Rebeka Koha made her first five lifts to register 87-105-192.

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