Park Hye-jung (20-Goyang City Hall) won three gold medals in the women’s heavyweight category at the World Weightlifting Championships.
Park took first place in the women’s 87 kg and above category at the 2023 World Weightlifting Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday (Sept. 16) with a lift of 124 kg, a snatch of 165 kg and a total of 289 kg.
Unlike the Olympics and Asian Games, medals are awarded for the lifts, snatch, and total at the World Weightlifting Championships.
Park took home gold in all three categories.
This is the first time in two years that a South Korean athlete has won the women’s heavyweight title since Son Young-hee (30, Busan City Sports Association) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 2021.
However, in 2021, weightlifting powerhouse China was not represented.
In 2021, Son finished second in the lift and won two gold medals in the jerk and total.
She is the first Korean athlete to take first place in the women’s heavyweight category at a world championship.
Current Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Jang Jang-ran, a former weightlifter, was crowned World Champion four times during her career (Doha, Qatar, 2005; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2006; Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2007; and Goyang City, South Korea, 2009), but she lost the top spot in the lift to another athlete.
A strong favorite to win the women’s heavyweight title at the 2023 World Championships was reigning Tokyo Olympic champion Li Wenyuan (CHN), who holds three world records in this weight class (148 kg in the lift, 187 kg in the snatch, and 335 kg in the total).
However, Li Wenyuan failed the first and second repetitions of the lifts at 130 kilograms, and was forced to withdraw from the competition without standing on the platform.
After Li Wenyuan’s withdrawal, there was no one left to threaten Park Hye Jung.
Second place in this weight class was Marie Tyson-Raffen (USA) with 277 kg (117 kg lifted – 160 kg on the platform). The gap between her and Park was 12 kilograms.
Son Young-hee (KOR) finished second in the vault with 122 kg, but after failing her first attempt at 157 kg, she abandoned her second and third attempts and did not record a total.
Park Hye-jung is the Jang Jang-ran kid.
She dominated the weightlifting world, winning the 2008 Beijing Olympics and four world titles. Her achievements have been recognized since the revelation of her contemporaries’ drug histories.
Park Hye-jung, an ordinary girl, was inspired to join the weightlifting club at Seonbu Middle School in her first year of middle school after watching Jang Jang-ran compete.
Most athletes who start weightlifting dream of becoming the next Jang Jang-ran.
However, not many athletes are considered by the weightlifting world to be a “second rose.
Park Hye-jung established herself as one of the frontrunners for the post-Joseulan era by breaking the Korean middle school record (259 kg total) and junior record (290 kg).
She was also unbeatable on the world junior stage.
Park won the World Junior Championships in Heraklion, Greece, in May last year (120kg in the vault, 161kg on the beam, 281kg total) and the Asian Junior Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in July (115kg in the vault, 155kg on the beam, 270kg total).
But even for her, the pressure of being labeled a “post-rose” was considerable.
“A lot of people have been supporting me since I was young. I was very grateful. At the same time, I felt a lot of pressure because my records didn’t improve as much as I expected,” she said, adding, “In my senior year of high school, I wandered and went through a slump.”
After lifting a total of 290 kilograms as a high school sophomore, Park set a goal of 300 kilograms for her senior year. However, her best total last year as a high school junior was 285 kilograms.
In 2022, her first appearance at the World Championships, she finished eighth with a total of 274 kilograms (119 kg lifted and 155 kg vaulted).
Park, who was unemployed this year, broke her personal best in the women’s 87kg and above category at the 2023 Jinju Asian Weightlifting Championships in May with a lift of 127kg, a snatch of 168kg and a total of 295kg.
Despite falling short of Lee Won-won’s total of 315 kilograms (140 kilograms in the lift and 175 kilograms in the snatch), Park finished second in the total, second in the lift, and third in the snatch, proving her international competitiveness.
Since 2020, only two women have lifted a total of 295 kilograms or more, Lee Won-won and Park Hye-jung.
In her second appearance at the World Championships, Lee surpassed even Wonwon Lee to become the champion. 스포츠토토
Park will also compete at the Hangzhou Asian Games alongside Son Young-hee.
While Li is still the favorite to win the Asian Games in Hangzhou, Park proved at the World Championships that upsets can happen at any time.