(BEIJING, August 10) -- Lifters in the Men's 62kg and Women's 58kg weight classes will compete for Olympic glory on August 11 at the Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics Gymnasium.
Men's 62kg Weightlifting defending Olympic champion China's Shi Zhiyong and 2004 bronze winner Israel Jose Rubio of Venezuela both moved up to the 69kg category, while silver medalist Li Maosheng of China is not participating in the Beijing Games.
These vacancies clear the podium for new champion lifters, or returning ones, in the case of Zhang Xiangxiang of China. Zhang won the Men's 56kg Weightlifting bronze at the Sydney Olympics but did not compete in 2004. He will compete in the 62kg class this year, and is viewed as one of the best bets for China to claim a gold.
Im Yong-su of Korea is another medal favorite after lifting a total of 315kg to finish second at the 2007 World Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Other medal contenders are Pan-American champion Oscar Figueroa of Colombia, who settled for a fifth place at the 2004 Athens Games, and Umurbek Bazarbayev of Turkmenistan, who clinched a seventh-place finish in 2004.
In the Women's 58kg Weightlifting category, the biggest favorite is the defending Olympic champion China's Chen Yanqing, who came out of a two-year retirement in 2006 to set five world weightlifting records at the 15th Asian Games in Doha.
Thailand's Wandee Kameaim, the bronze winner of this category at the Athens Olympics, is another medal contender. She competed in the Women's 58kg weight class at the 2005 World Championships in Doha and won the silver medal with 236kg in the total. A year later she got stuck at 230kg at the 2006 World Weightlifting Championships and took the bronze medal.
Group C of the Men's 69kg category will also compete on August 11, but no medals will be awarded until groups A and B compete on August 12.