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Okulov leads way for Russia, and Deng wins again

By Brian Oliver at the George R Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas

There was good news and bad for China, while Russia won gold, silver and bronze for total in the two medal events on day six of the 2015 IWF World Championships.

Artem Okulov, junior world champion in 2013 and 2014, won the men’s 85kg when Kianoush Rostami, of Iran, failed with his last two lifts. Okulov’s long-time friend and training partner, Apti Aukhadov, was third.

Tian Tao of China won the snatch but then failed with all three clean & jerks. After similar failures to register a total by Long Qingquan (56kg) and Lu Xiaojun (77kg) it could have an impact on China’s qualification places for the Olympic Games next summer.

There was much better news for China when Deng Wei had a clean sweep in the women’s 63kg, with a clean & jerk world record of 146kg. She was in great form after failing with her first snatch, making four straight lifts and passing on her final attempt after hobbling off the stage with a minor leg injury.

Deng, 22, had 113kg in the snatch to finish ahead of Tima Turieva. The Russian failed with her last two clean & jerk attempts at 141kg but still took silver overall, with PR Korea’s Choe Hyo Sim in third place. The 1-2-3 finishing order was identical to last year’s World Championships in Almaty, and for the second straight year Choe won a bronze despite finishing only eighth in the snatch.

“I didn’t come here to finish second again, I wanted gold,” said Turieva. “But I didn’t get properly acclimatised, I was still feeling the jetlag. I tried my best but it was not enough.”

Great Britain had two lifters in the A Group. Zoe Smith, the Commonwealth Games 58kg champion, did better than Rebekah Tiler, finishing ninth. But Tiler is only 16 and clearly has a bright future.

The biggest drama of the day came at the end of the men’s 85kg. Rostami needed his lift of 218kg to overtake Okulov and he made it, only to lose the bar backwards. “Only god didn’t want it,” he said later.

He added another kilo to go for a world record and the gold, but accidentally touched his knee with his elbow. Okulov, 21, almost lost his balance on his final attempt at 215kg but recovered well.