Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Before the contest started, an experienced audience member rattled off their background knowledge of weightlifting.
"According to the sizes, plates can be divided into three categories: large, medium, and small. Among large ones, red represents 25kg, blue is 20 kg, yellow is 15kg, and green is 10kg; among medium plates, white is 5kg and red is 2.5kg; and among small plates, blue is 2kg, yellow is 1.5kg, green is 1kg, and white is 0.5kg. The minimum weight addition is 1kg, which means putting a small white plate on both sides of the bar. So that’s it." the others all nodded with appreciation, even though nobody had managed to remember all the colors and their respective weights.
"Look! There goes a staff member. He is holding a red plate, how much does that weigh again?"
The experienced audience member glanced at the plate and suddenly became serious. "That is a medium red plate, weighing 2.5kg. 2.5kg multiplied by two. That means Dashan Fang is going to add 5kg of weight to the bar!"
"5kg? That’s a lot! Is he going to lift 174kg this time?"
"I wonder whether or not he can make it."
"Don’t you remember that Fang is 1kg behind Jiang? If he wants to win, his last attempt must be good. But if he dares to try and lift 174kg, he must be confident that he’ll lift it."
"Let’s take a look at Jiang’s. If he adds less than 5kg, then it would be impossible for him to win."
On the other side of the competition area, a member of the staff was walking to the stage with the same red plate in his hands.
"5kg! Jiang is also adding 5kg! He is going to lift 175kg."
"Interesting. Jiang is going to try and outperform Fang by 1kg again. Let’s see what happens."
In the athletes lounge, Dai Li looked at Jiang with admiration. He had to admit that Jiang’s experience had helped make the wisest decision in such a crucial moment.
Simply based off the strategies, Jiang was the winner. A 5kg weight raise was just the right amount to suppress Fang. However, Li was worrying about Jiang’s performance and whether he could succeed in lifting it or not.
On the other side, Fang looked serious. He had thought that adding 5kg would surely secure a win, but he didn’t expect his competitor to also add the same weight. This had put him at 1kg less than Jiang. Because of this, even if he successfully lifted 174kg, Jiang still had a chance to win.
174kg was a big challenge for Dashan Fang. He was almost at his limit, and couldn’t go any further. Even the top level 62kg weightlifters couldn’t guarantee a lift of 174kg on the first attempt.
Once Fang knew that Jiang had also added 5kg, he went on the stage without hesitation. He hoped to achieve a good attempt before Jiang. Because there was no way to change weight, neither of them could do anything about it. The competition had turned into a psychological war. Fang wanted to put pressure on Jiang by getting a good lift.
He grasped some chalk and clapped his hands. Powder rose in the air, floating around like mist. Fang walked through the mist, faced the bar, and bowed to prepare for his last attempt.
Underneath the stage, Fang’s coach was shouting some words of advice, but Fang couldn’t hear a word. As a professional weightlifter, he had already practiced the skills thousands of times. When he touched the bar, he reacted by instinct. He didn’t need to review the skills in his mind at all.
Although he had lifted 174kg during his training, he had never tried that weight in a formal competition. But today he had to go beyond himself. He broke out with a sudden force, and lifted the bar to his chest.
"Go!" With the coach’s roar, Fang raised the bar above his head. His stretched arms began to shake as his feet moved around in an attempt to maintain his balance. Eventually, he stood still. People could see that his cheeks were flushed red, his teeth were clenched together, and that his face looked ferocious. His whole body was tense, and the veins in his arms were protruding from the pressure.
When the finishing beep rang, Fang dropped the bar to the ground, then jumped high with excitement. Fang had just achieved a good lift—174kg. It was his best performance. And his total was 315kg, which was 4kg more than Jiang. Now the pressure was on Jiang.
"Jiang, Fang just succeeded in lifting 174kg," Li said. He looked upset and worried.
"Relax, don’t be so nervous." Jiang comforted Li, but he was the one who needed to cheer up.
As a coach, Li was not a good one. In this moment he should have been encouraging the athlete as opposed to making him worry; but as a new coach, Jiang thought Li was pretty calm considering it was his first national competition.
Jiang patted Li’s shoulder, then adjusted his wrist strap, tightened his rubber belt, and stepped on the stage. Everyone was concentrated on Jiang. If he succeeded in this attempt, he would have outperformed Fang and won the championship.
The audience were becoming energized. Jiang was a local, just like most of the audience. Everyone hoped that a local athlete could win this game.
Li was quite nervous now. He knew Jiang well, and knew that he had never tried lifting 175kg before.
Jiang stopped in front of the barbell and stood still. He took a deep breath, then took hold of the bar tightly with both hands. He didn’t try to lift it immediately. He was trying to adjust himself to get in the perfect position.
Finally, he began to lift the bar. The first step was not very easy, but in the end he got it done. He raised the bar to his chest, then prepared for the jerk. But he was stuck. He took another deep breath, seemingly trying to gain enough energy for the next step.
It’s so heavy. Too heavy. Can I make it? Jiang was beginning to doubt himself. The bar was so heavy that he could barely hold it.
Come on! He clenched his teeth and used all his energy for the jerk, but the weight was overwhelming. He felt exhausted.
No, no, I can’t do that...
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