Women’s 58kg crowned Deng Mengrong
China’s Mengrong Deng missed a gold medal in both the snatch and the clean-and-jerk in the women’s 58kg, but won the coveted overall title at the IWF Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It was only the second time, in the existing weight categories, that an athlete took the overall title without winning one of the other golds.
The recent Asian Games champion, Jong Hwa Ri of PRK, was beaten into second place.
Two Thai lifters won three medals between them: a gold, a silver and a bronze. Had they been able to combine their best efforts – a gold with 106kg in the snatch for teenager Sukanya Srisurat, and a clean-and-jerk silver on 131kg for Rattikan Gulnoi – they would have won the overall title.
“We compete against each other a lot, and our totals are usually about the same,” said Gulnoi. “I think she’s Thailand’s best lifter and she thinks it’s me. I hope we can both improve.”
Srisurat, 19, was surprised to take the snatch gold. Deng was successful with all her three lifts and made them look easy. But 105kg was not enough, for Srisurat made her third attempt at 106kg.
Ri looked in poor form, failing twice on 103kg, and another of the favourites also struggled. Hsing-Chun Kuo, of Taipei, who won last year’s clean-and-jerk and overall golds, made only two good lifts and was 8kg or more behind the medallists. Ri improved in the clean-and-jerk, winning gold with 133kg, but she never looked likely to catch the impressive Deng, whose winning total was 235kg.
Deng was asked what she was looking forward to now that she had overcome her injury to take the title. “Food,” she said. “Especially dessert.” Her favourite interests outside weightlifting, she said, were “food and shopping”.
There was a fifth medallist. When Ri failed with her two attempts at 103kg in the snatch, the 19-year-old Colombian Yenny Alvarez Caicedo was left in third place on 100kg. She had great encouragement from her teammates in the crowd and gave the best smile of the night when her medal was confirmed.