BEIJING – Hiromi Miyake’s bid to land Japan its first medal of the Beijing Olympics fell flat on Saturday after she finished sixth in the 48-kg class of the women’s weightlifting program.
Favorite and 2007 world champion Chen Xiexia eased to victory, lifting an Olympic record of 212 kg to give host China its first gold medal on the opening day of full competition in the Chinese capital.
Turkey’s Sibel Okzan (199) took the silver and Taiwan’s Chen Wei-ling (196) the bronze.
Japan’s Misaki Oshiro (172) placed eighth.
“I have been thinking of winning a medal but never thought it would turn out to be the first gold medal for China,” said Chen. “I am very happy and think I did a very good job.
“I was on home court and had special support, especially from the Chinese fans, so I didn’t feel any pressure.”
Roared on by a fiercely partisan crowd, Chen made almost effortless lifts of 90, 93, and 95 kg in the snatch and capped a stunning performance by lifting 117 kg in the clean and jerk.
Miyake, meanwhile, came into her second Summer Games with the goal of becoming the third athlete from her family to win an Olympic medal.
But she left herself with an uphill task after an 80-kg lift in the snatch put her sixth and she was unable to improve her rank after raising 105 kg in the clean and jerk.
She left the stage in tears after failing to match her Japanese clean and jerk record of 110 kg with her second and third efforts.
“I pushed myself to the limit. A medal was out of reach but I have no regrets,” said Miyake.
“I have lost weight and determination alone was not enough to carry me through,” added the diminutive 22-year-old.
Coach and father Yoshiyuki Miyake took the bronze medal in the 1968 Mexico Games in the featherweight class and won at the world championship in 1969 and 1971.
His older brother, Yoshinobu, a six-time world champion who set 25 world records, won the featherweight gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and again four years later in Mexico.