China lashes out over 'shameless' photo of Olympic gold medallist

Hou Zhihui, pictured here winning weightlifting gold at the Olympics.
A photo of weightlifting gold medallist Hou Zhihui has angered China. Image: Getty

The Chinese media has launched a bizarre attack on 'western' counterparts over a photo of weightlifting gold medallist Hou Zhihui.

China claimed three gold medals on the first day of the Tokyo Olympics, with Hou winning the women's 49kg weightlifting event.

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Hou claimed gold with an Olympic record total of 210 kilograms.

However her victory has sparked a bizarre controversy in China, with diplomats and state-run media fuming over a photo of her used to report on the triumph.

The photo in question shows the 24-year-old straining during a lift attempt.

The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka tweeted: "Among all the photos of the games, @Reuters has chosen this one, which only shows how ugly they are.

"Don’t put politics and ideologies above sports, and call yourself an unbiased media organisation. Shameless."

The Global Times then published an article accusing Reuters of “unfairly targeting China”, claiming the image was “widely regarded as disrespectful”.

However the complaint sparked a wave of criticism itself, with many defending Reuters for their use of a photo that simply showed an athlete in action.

Hou finished 3kg off her own world record.

“I just wanted to enjoy the Games. I don’t care about the world record or something,” she said.

“I just want to be myself, be all of myself.”

Weightlifter wins first ever Olympic gold for Philippines

Meanwhile, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made history on Monday when she became the first athlete from the Philippines to win an Olympic gold medal.

The 30-year-old Rio 2016 silver medallist from the southern city of Zamboanga realised her dream in the women's 55kg class at the Tokyo International Forum, smashing her personal best to see off world record holder Liao Qiuyun of China who had to settle for silver.

With Liao setting a target of 223kg, just 4kg shy of her own world record, Diaz was faced with a final clean and jerk of 127kg to win - fully 5kg more than she had ever achieved in competition.

Hidilyn Diaz, pictured here after placing first in the women's 55kg weightlifting competition.
Hidilyn Diaz reacts after placing first in the women's 55kg weightlifting competition at the Olympics. (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)

With a massive effort she hoisted the huge Olympic record weight and the tears of joy began to flow even before she dropped the bar to the floor after a triumphant effort.

Liao took the silver, with Kazakhstan's Zulfiya Chinshanlo the bronze 10kg adrift of the top two.

"It's unbelievable, it's a dream, come true," Diaz told AFP moments after the Philippines Air Force woman shed more tears on the podium as she saluted her flag and sung the national anthem.

"I want to say to the young generation in the Philippines, 'You can have this dream of gold too'.

"This is how I started and finally I was able to do it."

with agencies

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