Toan aims at lift heaviest weight at Olympics

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Men's star lifter Tran Le Quoc Toan, Vietnam's biggest medal hopeful, has registered to lift the highest weight in his category

Vietnamese lifter Tran Le Quoc Toan at the Olympic Village in England

Vietnam's top weightlifter and serious contender for Olympic gold will attempt to lift the competition's heaviest barbells on Sunday.

Toan's personal best so far is only 280kg, but the lifter is undaunted by his new ambitious goal.

Toan, Vietnam's biggest hope for a medal at the 2012 London Olympics, told Thanh Nien that worries he would not meet expectations were unfounded.

"I'm very confident because of my performance during training. Though it is a tough fight and the Olympics require strong determination, I will make every effort to be the best," he said.

"The coaching staff had talked to me about the registration and I don't think this has put me under any pressure."

Toan's coach Deykov Diyan Yordanove said the decision had been carefully contemplated by all involved.

 "It is the matter of strategy that has been discussed and decided and the reason for the decision can't be disclosed. A technical meeting will be held on July 26, when the lifters may change the decisions," said Yordanove.

"Toan knows this very well and he is certainly under no pressure at all. We know Toan's ability and we're pinning our hopes on him."

Head of the Vietnamese sports delegation Lam Quang Thanh said the decision was probably a strategic one made by the weightlifting coaching staff to ensure that Toan will be placed in Group A with only the strongest weightlifters who are contenders for medals.

Thanh added that Toan may have lifted 292kg during training.

According to a press release from the International Weightlifting Federation, the 2011 world champion Wu Jingbiao of China registered only 280kg although he lifted 292kg in France last year.

Azerbaijani lifter Valentin Hristov registered to lift 290kg. Hristov and Jingbiao are Toan's main rivals at the coming competition.

Toan said he has had no problems in training, and no issues adjusting after moving from France to London on the 20th of July. He said he now just needs to relax before the competition.

The men's 56kg competition will take place on Sunday July 29.

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