Weightlifting: Noodle power lifts Zhan

Zhan Xugang was totally dominant in the lightweight division yesterday, claiming three world records on his way to earning China's second weightlifting gold medal of the Olympics.

The world champion hoisted 162.5kg in the snatch, and then with gold already his, he lifted a record 195kg in the clean-and-jerk, setting a new combined mark of 357.5kg into the bargain.

North Korea's Kim Myong-nam, who had set the previous records in April, was outlifted by a hefty 12.5 kg and had to settle for silver. Hungary's Attila Feri took bronze.

"I lifted as much as I can in the snatch, but in the clean-and-jerk I can do five kilograms more," said Zhan, ominously for his rivals. "I'd been doing well in training and I thought this was my time to take all Kim's records and the gold."

China's weightlifting coach, Yang Hanxiong, put the success down to instant noodles. "Training conditions are pretty good but the food is not so great for us. Still, we've bought a lot of instant noodles. In fact, instant noodles are our No 1 weapon here," he said.

The result was confirmation that China, who did not win a weightlifting gold in 1988 or 1992, are a force to be reckoned with in the lighter weights. Tang Lingsheng took gold in the bantamweight (54kg) class on Sunday with a world record combined total and China have also won a silver and a bronze.

Turkey, with two golds so far, had a bad day yesterday. Their world silver medallist and 1994 champion, Fedail Guler, injured his elbow in the warm- up and withdrew. The double world bronze medallist Ergun Batmaz, trailing badly after the snatch, declined a third clean-and-jerk attempt.