Li Fabin made it two out of two weightlifting golds for China in Tokyo on Sunday as he saw off Indonesian veteran Eko Yuli Irawan, who became only the fifth lifter in history to win four Olympic medals.
The flamboyant Li pulled off his signature one-legged ‘flamingo lift’ on his opening clean and jerk at 166kg on his way to a 313kg total and an 11kg margin over Asian Games champion Irawan in the 61kg class.
“It’s a lift I wouldn’t suggest anyone else should learn,” said Li, who somehow manages to regain his balance by standing on one leg while holding a massive weight above his head.
He first stunned the weightlifting world by doing it at the 2017 Asian Championships, but said because of injury he hasn’t been able to perform it much since.
“Standing on one leg is not a regular balance move. I can only do it because I have great core and abdomen muscle strength.”
Li, 28, from the southern Chinese province of Fujian, took a crucial advantage in the opening snatch discipline, despite a surprise failure with his first attempt at 137kg.
Li’s third successful attempt of 141kg gave him a 4kg advantage going into the second discipline, which he extended with a mammoth 172kg in the clean and jerk, just 2kg off Irawan’s world record.
Li’s gold added to Hou Zhihui’s victory in the women’s 49kg competition on Saturday, an event in which India’s Mirabai Chanu claimed a silver medal.