Source: Xinhua

08-11-2008 08:57

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese weightlifter Long Qingquan seemed more nervous while answering reporters' questions than competing on the platform at the Olympic Games.

Long Qingquan of China celebrates after taking a successful snatch lift at the men's 56kg final of weightlifting at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 10, 2008. Long claimed title in this event.(Xinhua Photo)
Long Qingquan of China celebrates after taking a successful 
snatch lift at the men's 56kg final of weightlifting at 
Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 10, 2008. 
Long claimed title in this event.(Xinhua Photo)

He answered most questions by murmuring incomplete sentences. Most of the time, he sat there, playing his fingers uneasily at the press conference after he claimed the Olympic 56kg division title.

He only responded to one question without hesitation. It was about talented Turkish lifter Halil Mutlu.

"It's a pity that I could not compete with my idol since my target is to exceed him," he said.

In 1994, Turkish prodigy Mutlu debuted at the world championships and claimed gold by smashing three world records. He had dominated the category for a decade since then and won three consecutive Olympic golds at Atlanta, Sydney and Athens Games.

During the period, Long grew up and started his weightlifting career.

Born in a small village in central China's Hunan Province, Long was picked up by local sports school to practice weightlifting when he was nine years old.

In 2003, the Chinese weightlifting team trained in Long's hometown. The boy peeped through the windows, admiringly.

"I'm looking forward to being trained with them," he said.

Long completed a "triple jump" - claiming a national title, entering the national team and making it to the Olympics within one year.

Experts agree that Long is as talented as Mutlu, which is strongly supported by the fact that he had only three months of training with the national team before his Olympic debut.

He said he was inspired by the imagination of competing with Mutlu. He had googled Mutlu's performance before the Olympics.

"What I wanted to do was to beat the legend," he said.

However, 35-year-old Mutlu said he was unable to lift his targeted weights in practice and it would be difficult for him to take part in the competition in Beijing.

Before this Olympics, when asked about his goal, Long Qingquan bit his l

lips. "I want to keep it a secret," he said, with a shy smile on his baby face.

Long Qingquan of China takes a lift at the men's 56kg final of weightlifting at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 10, 2008. Long claimed title in this event. (Xinhua/Yang Lei) 
Long Qingquan of China takes a lift at the men's 56kg final 
of weightlifting at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, 
China, Aug. 10, 2008. Long claimed title in this event. 
(Xinhua/Yang Lei) 

On Sunday night, Long equalled his personal best of 292kg for the title, beating Vietnamese Hoang Anh Tuan and 19-year-old Indonesian prodigy Eko Yuli Irawan.

It was a perfect start for Long after the "Mutlu's era" ended.

"I will definitely open my own era," he said.


Editor:Yang Lina