By Sportswriters Wu Chen, Liu Yang
BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese weightlifter
Long Qingquan seemed more nervous while answering reporters' questions than
competing on the platform at the Olympic Games.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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
Long completed a "triple jump" - claiming a national
title, entering the national team and making it to the Olympics within one
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
"What I wanted to do was to beat the legend," he
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.
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
"I will definitely open my own era," he said.