RIO DE JANEIRO — With her main rivals serving doping suspensions, Deng Wei won Olympic gold and set a world record in women's weightlifting.
The Chinese lifter won the 63-kilogram category Tuesday, hoisting 147 kilograms in the clean and jerk and 115 in the snatch for a world-record total of 262. Deng's clean and jerk lift also broke her own world record by 1 kilo.
"Because this is my first Olympic Games, I was quite nervous," Deng said. "But I set my goal to break the world record before coming to Rio, so this is actually within my expectations."
The previous record holder, Lin Tzu-Chi of Taiwan, was a late withdrawal Tuesday after abnormalities were found in a doping test she gave before the Olympics, her team said.
Other top contenders were also absent because of doping.
Choe Hyo Sim of North Korea took silver and Karina Goricheva of Kazakhstan earned bronze.
"I am going to try harder to win gold next time," Choe said. "I am not happy with the result. I could have tried much harder."
Weightlifting has been ravaged by doping in recent years, with the women's 63kg class hit particularly hard. Defending champion Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan missed the Olympics after failing a drug test, while two of the top four from last year's world championships were also out for doping-related reasons.
The doping situation is such that Mercedes Isabel Perez of Colombia, who finished fourth, said she might yet win a medal.
"We have to wait for the doping tests," Perez said, chuckling. "Who knows? Being fourth is the best because if something happens, I'll just climb on that podium."
Weightlifting has been dogged by steroid use for more than 50 years, but better testing techniques have meant bans for more star athletes.
Two of the sport's superpowers, Russia and Bulgaria, were kicked out of weightlifting at the Rio de Janeiro Games entirely after repeated doping cases. The International Weightlifting Federation had threatened to ban Kazakhstan and Belarus, too, but failed because various doping cases were not processed in time for the Olympics.
Results from the past are also in danger because of advances in testing.
Besides Maneza's gold, Kazakhstan stands to lose four more Olympic victories after failing retests of samples from Beijing and London, including two by Ilya Ilyin, the sport's most marketable name.
Nine Russians from the 2008 and 2012 Games have also failed retesting, all for oral turinabol, a relic of the East German state doping program of the Cold War era.