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Asian Games: Super-strongwoman Zhou lifts record weight

AFP | Friday, Sep 26, 2014

Gold-medalist and new world record holder Zhou Lulu of China competes in the womens +75 kg weightlifting final of the 2014 Asian Games.

INCHEON, South Korea - Gentle giant Zhou Lulu on Friday raised the heaviest single weight ever recorded by a woman weightlifter at the Asian Games but insisted she is just "an ordinary girl."

Zhou broke Russian Tatiana Kashrina's world record in the clean and jerk by 2kg, with 192kg, and equalled the Russian's combined record of 334kg in her one woman show in the super-heavyweight over 75kg class.

Having also eclipsing her London 2012 Olympics total of 333kg, which was a world record at the time, Zhou said she could have done better.

"I'm not satisfied with that. It was only so-so," she told AFP, after lifting 142kg in the first discipline, 4kg below her Olympic performance.

"I'm disappointed that I didn't perform well in the snatch. There's nothing special about breaking the world record."

Her huge 140kg (308lb) frame and fearsome stage presence notwithstanding, Zhou considers herself like any other 26-year-old woman.

"I'm just an ordinary girl," she said. "I'm a Pisces so I'm a bit of a romantic. I like buying pretty things."

Her Weibo microblog account in China is packed with posts about "What age should I get married?" and phrases such as, "I am an optimist", "I am a peach girl" and "Be happy every day."

She says she loves shopping with her friends, but normally just goes along for fun as "I can't find anything find anything to fit me".

Zhou cuts a much more frightening appearance on stage, screaming "Qing Song!" (relax!) at the bar before every lift, but it belies her real character.

"It's not a contradiction between my gentle personality and what you see in training or on the stage," she said.

Zhou saw off second-placed Mariya Grabovetskaya of Kazakhstan and bronze medallist Thailand's Chitchanok Pulsabsakul with ease Friday.

Grabovetskaya was only 1kg behind after the snatch on 141kg but finished a distant 32kg in arrears, with Chitchanok a further 10kg adrift, after Zhou's astonishing final lift.

Zhou has admitted in the past that she hated weightlifting when selected for the sport at primary school aged 11 but grew to love it.

"I didn't like it at first because the training so tough," she told the china.org.cn website last year.

"I gradually began to love it once I realised you don't have to worry about your body shape, or if it is feminine."

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