Lu wins China's 8th weightlifting gold

Aug. 15, 2008, 10:01 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Lu Yong won China's eighth weightlifting gold medal Friday, tying the world record set moments earlier by the silver medalist but grabbing the title because of a lower body weight.

The electrifying duel between Lu and double world champion Andrei Rybakou of Belarus lasted until the very last lifts of the men's 85-kilogram competition.

Rybakou thought he had won when he set a world record total of 394 kg (868.6 pounds), but Lu equaled the score with his final lift.

Tigran Martirosyan of Armenia totaled 380 kg (837.8 pounds) to take the bronze.

Lu's gold capped China's near-perfect record in the weightlifting competition, with eight gold and one silver medal. The host nation has no competitors in the four remaining categories.

Lu had to fight hard for his medal. Trailing Rybakou by 5 kg (11 pounds) after the snatch, he pushed himself to close the gap in the second event, the clean and jerk.

Lu's chances looked dim when Rybakou hoisted 209 kg (460.8 pounds) in his final lift, pushing his combined score beyond the old world record by 1 kg (2.2 pounds). Rybakou shouted on top of his lungs and threw his fists in the air in celebration.

But the Chinese strongman confidently asked for 214 kg (471.8 pounds) to level the score, knowing he would win the title because he weighed in lower than Rybakou.

His first attempt was cleared by the judges, setting off loud cheers in the crowd, but was ruled as invalid a minute later by the jury.

Lu recomposed himself to repeat the lift in his final attempt and this time even the jury gave a thumbs-up.

"After the jury reversed my second attempt in the clean and jerk my mind-set was definitely affected," Lu said. "But the judgment was made and I couldn't change it. It could only use my third attempt to convince everybody."

Rybakou admitted he was stunned by Lu's performance.

"I knew that the Chinese athletes are strong but I didn't expect that they're that strong," he said, laughing.

Earlier Friday, Cao Lei broke three Olympic records to win the women's 75-kg division and clinch China's seventh gold.