China’s Weightlifting Titan Bows Out of Asian Games Due to Injury

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: November 21, 2023

Just days before the 19th Asian Games‘ weightlifting competitions kick off, China’s team has been dealt a blow.

Li Wenwen lifting weights
Courtesy of

Their super-heavyweight Olympic champion and world record holder, Li Wenwen, has withdrawn due to an elbow injury.

The powerhouse sustained the injury during the recent World Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, leaving China with a team of 13 in Hangzhou.

The Chinese team, known for their dominance in the sport due to their impeccable training program, now faces an unpredictable challenge from North Korea.

The North Korean lifters haven’t competed internationally since December 2019, but they’ve previously shown their mettle, winning eight of the 15 medal events at the 2018 Asian Games.

They also set five world records between April and September 2019, which still stand.

North Korea, however, won’t be in Paris for the Olympics, despite weightlifting being their most successful sport.

They withdrew from the Tokyo Olympic Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic and declined an opportunity to join the Paris qualifying program.

Despite the setback, China’s team still boasts two world record holders: Jiang Huihua and Liao Guifang. The team had a stellar performance at Tokyo 2020, bagging a record seven gold medals.

They also have eight leaders in the 10 Paris 2024 ranking lists and seven winners at the recent IWF World Championships.

However, China’s Olympic 73kg champion, SHI Zhiyong, won’t compete due to injury recovery.

This leaves the clean-and-jerk world record holder, Rahmat Erwin ABDULLAH of Indonesia, in a rematch with Weeraphon Wichuma of Thailand, who bested him in Riyadh.

The Asian Games will also see Liu Huanhua, who has moved up 20kg in the past 10 months, compete in the 109kg category. His opponents include two Olympic champions from Uzbekistan, Ruslan Nurudinov and Akbar Djuraev.

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