Chen Jingkai, a Chinese weightlifter from Shilong, Dongguan, lifted 133 kg in the men’s 56 kg category at the Sino-Soviet friendship match in Shanghai on June 7, 1956—making him the first Chinese athlete to break a world record.
Before Chen’s first world record, China was struggling with participating in sport when the PRC was just founded and some countries didn’t take Chinese athletes seriously. In order to eradicate the stereotype, the Chinese government began to look for suitable people for weightlifting. Chen was born in 1935, having participated in an activity similar to weightlifting since he was young. Even though he was not the best candidate of all, he was still chosen because coaches believed he had great potential.
Chen became a national team member with another seven and they trained hard for a long time, without stopping even to recover from injuries. However, realizing the importance of proper training, Chen and his members were sent to the Soviet Union. All of them understood the money invested in them, which became part of their motivation. June 7, 1956, was the remarkable day when Chen put his all into implementation. More than 3,000 people witnessed the moment. After that, Chen impressively broke the world record nine more times.
On December 6, 2010, Chen passed away.