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First Chinese Gold and second for PRK

There was drama behind the scenes in the first women’s medal event, and a second gold medal for PRK on an entertaining second day of the IWF World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Tan Yayun, from China, made it six out of six in the World Championships with a clean sweep in the women’s 48kg – a repeat of her feat in Poland last year. Tan, who will be 22 later this month, lifted 109kg with her final attempt in the clean-and-jerk. That gave her a 194kg total, 5kg ahead of a tearful Sibel Ozkan Konak (Turkey) and Panida Khamsri (Thailand), who finished second and third overall.

It was heartbreaking for Ozkan Konak, 26, who now has seven silver medals and no golds in the Olympic Games, IWF World Championships, European Championships and Mediterranean Games. She was only 1kg behind after the snatch and was confident of a good total, as she has clean-and-jerked 115kg in training. But she made only 105kg because of an injury.

In the break between the snatch and the clean-and-jerk, Ozkan Konak was sitting and stretching when suddenly she had muscle spasms in her quadriceps, first in her right leg, then the left.

She had ice treatment but the spasms continued. “I was desperate. I thought I would have to withdraw,” she said.

Ozkan Konak was unable to do any warm-ups and went straight from her 84kg snatch to lifting 103kg in the clean-and-jerk. She improved that by 2kg but failed with her last lift, and was in tears after the medal ceremony.

There was home disappointment when Kazakhstan’s Margarita Yelisseyeva failed with all three snatch attempts and withdrew.

In the men’s 62kg three lifters failed to register a total. The easy winner was Kim Un Guk, who had won overall gold in the 2010 World Championships, and silver in 2011 and 2013 – as well as the Olympic title in 2012. This was the first time he won all three golds at the IWF World Championships.

Kim made 142kg in the snatch, winning by 1kg from the overall runner-up Eko Irawan from Indonesia, and the brilliant young Colombian Luis Javier Mosquera Lozano. The 19-year old won bronze in the snatch and was fourth overall. He has set himself a daunting programme next year of competing in the Youth World Championships in Lima, Peru, the Pan-American Games in Toronto, and the IWF World Championships in Houston, Texas.

China’s Ding Jianjun was beaten into third place by Irawan, so for the first time since 1998 China was not placed in the top two overall. Ding said, “PRK is the strongest rival to China. They have many perfect lifters. There was an era when China dominated but now they are the best. The only way we can respond is by training, training and more training.”