| Event type

Featherweight (≤55 kilograms), Women

Date26 July 2021
LocationTokyo International Forum, Yūrakuchō Business District (Marunouchi District), Tokyo, Japan
Participants14 from 14 countries
FormatTotal of best lifts in snatch and clean & jerk determined placement. Ties broken by lightest bodyweight.

The body weight of this class had been contested over 53 kg in all former Olympic editions but, in Tokyo, the new weight was 55 kg. This division was one of the few women’s classes in which China had not been a dominant force in the past, having won only one medal, thanks to the gold medal of Yang Xia back in 2000 when women’s weightlifting was first held at the Olympic Games. In Tokyo, however, there was a clear favourite in Liao Qiuyun who had a season best of 222 kg. She was the reigning 2019 world champion and also the Asian champion in 2019 and 2020 (held in April 2021). Furthermore, she was the world record holder in clean & jerk (129 kg) and total (227 kg), both set at the 2019 World Championships. World record holder in snatch (102 kg), Li Yajun, was the 2018 world champion, and silver medallist at the last Asian Championships, where she set her season best with 221 kg. She represented China in the 53 kg class at Rio but, along with Zhang Wanqiong, twice runner-up at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships, both were not able to compete in Tokyo because of the one athlete per nation in each weight class rule. Liao’s first likely contender was Hidilyn Diaz, the 53 kg Rio silver medallist, who was competing in her fourth Olympics in Tokyo. She was the gold medallist from the 2018 Asian Games, when China was suspended, and was runner-up at the 2019 Asian Championships, but with a season best of 212 kg achieved at the Asian Championships held in April 2021, she was still ranked behind Muattar Nabieva. Nabieva finished third in the last two Asian Championships and had her season best with 213 kg. Also present in Tokyo was Zulfiya Chinshanlo, who lost her London 2012 gold medal due to doping, which was not discovered until October 2016. She did not have any significant results since then, having won her last world title back in 2014, placing fourth in the last Worlds and fifth in the last Asians, respectively, She went to Tokyo with a season best of 210 kg. Asian lifters dominated this event as only two non-Asians qualified through the rankings, Kamila Konotop (UKR), season best 212 kg, reigning European champion and World Junior champion, and also Ana López (MEX), season best 200 kg, and reigning Pan American champion.

As expected, the strongest snatcher in the field, Nabieva, took the lead after lifting 98 kg on her third attempt and Liao followed close behind with 97 kg. Diaz also gave a great performance by managing 97 kg with her second lift. She also tried 99 kg but failed to clear that weight. Konotop cleared 94 kg to bring herself in fourth position while Chinshanlo and Kristina Şermetowa followed with 90 kg each. In clean & jerk, Nabieva put in a good performance by her standard, lifting 114 kg for a total of 212 kg. She had a clear lead before the top three clean & jerkers started their competition after all the others had already finished. Liao started with 118 kg with her first lift, but Diaz countered with 119 kg. Chinshanlo started with 123 kg, which she cleared in her second attempt, and it brought all three ahead of Nabieva and secured a medal for them. Liao lifted 123 kg in her second attempt, but this was again countered by Diaz with 124 kg. This gave Chinshanlo bronze, but the race for gold was not over. Again, Liao started with a 126 kg, which meant that Diaz had to lift 127 kg in her last attempt as Liao had the lighter body weight. For the third time Diaz fought back and cleared 127 kg to win gold leaving silver for Liao, who was the only lifter in this field who did not miss any of her six attempts. This was also the first ever gold medal for the Philippines in Olympic history. The silver medal in this class would later turn out to be the only non-gold medal in weightlifting for China at these Games.

The Olympic Standard for Olympic records was 97 kg for snatch, 121 kg for clean & jerk, and 217 kg for total. The snatch record was taken by Nabieva with 98 kg. Liao twice set an Olympic record in clean & jerk with 123 kg and 126 kg, but it was bettered twice by Diaz with 124 kg and 127 kg. The same happened to the total record, where Liao established records with 220 kg and 223 kg only to the bettered by Diaz with 221 kg and 224 kg.

PosGroupLifterNOCWeightBodyweightSnatchClean & Jerk
1AHidilyn DiazPHI22454.8097 (3)127 (1)ORGold
2ALiao QiuyunCHN22354.6597 (2)126 (2)ORSilver
3AZulfiya ChinshanloKAZ21354.9590 (7)123 (3)Bronze
4AMuattar NabievaUZB21254.9598 (1)114 (6)
5AKamila KonotopUKR20654.9594 (4)112 (7)
6AKristina ŞermetowaTKM20554.8590 (6)115 (5)
7AHam Eun-JiKOR20154.9085 (9)116 (4)
8ANouha LandoulsiTUN19654.8588 (8)108 (8)
9AAna LópezMEX19554.8090 (5)105 (9)
10BJoanna ŁochowskaPOL18654.7084 (10)102 (10)
11BKanae YagiJPN18354.7581 (12)102 (11)
12BRachel Leblanc-BazinetCAN18154.9082 (11)99 (12)
13BChiang Nien-HsinTPE17654.8081 (13)95 (13)
14BMary LifuSOL15454.5067 (14)87 (14)