China’s elite weightlifters enjoyed mixed fortunes on the first day of the Ready Steady Tokyo Olympic test event at Tokyo International Forum, with two claiming world records while others missed too many lifts.
There was also a career-best performance by Japan's Masanori Miyamoto and a visit from Yoshiro Mori, the former Prime Minister of Japan who is President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.
Weightlifting is the first test event to involve the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is organising the competition alongside the Japan Weightlifting Association, with the support of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
China’s Chen Lijun, a strong favourite who had held all three world records in the 67kg, had a day to forget.
Not only did he bomb out in the snatch, he lost his world record in that lift to team mate Huang Minhao.
Huang, 26, made 155-173 for a career-best 328kg, while Chen came out for two clean and jerks to show what might have been, lifting 170-180 and skipping the third attempt.
The day’s other world record, also in the snatch, went to Hou Zhihui in the women’s 49kg.
Hou made all three snatch attempts to finish on 95kg, beating her own world record by 1kg, but missed two clean and jerks and totalled 205kg, better than team mate Jang Huihua by only 1kg.
As expected, Liao Qiuyun, Deng Wei and Zhang Wangli, all world record holders, won the 55kg, 64kg and 76kg, respectively, on 218kg, 248kg and 270kg.
Chen Guiming took the 59kg on 229kg ahead of Japan’s Mikiko Andoh (224).
The most improved performance by a Japanese lifter came from Miyamoto, who was second to Shi Zhiyong in the men’s 73kg.
In last year’s IWF World Championships, gold medallist Shi finished 29kg clear of 12th-placed Miyamoto.
At the Forum it was much closer, as Shi missed three attempts to finish on 345kg.
Miyamoto improved his national record and personal best by 10kg to finish on 341kg, only 4kg behind Shi.
Li Dayin made the biggest lift of the day, a 202kg clean and jerk, and finished well clear of 34-year-old world champion Lyu Xiaojun in the 81kg.
Li, 21, missed two snatch attempts but his total of 365kg was 15kg better than Lyu, who won gold and silver at the past two Olympic Games.
The double Olympic medallist Hiromi Miyake failed to recover fully from a leg injury, sustained at the Japan National Championships in May, and withdrew from the 49kg.
Local hero Miyake is aiming to compete in her fifth Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“I will be here again next year,” she said.
“I stood on the stage and it was good to feel the atmosphere, and exciting to imagine that the seats will be full with 5,000 (next year).”