Talakhadze takes gold and world record
By Brian Oliver at Riocentro, Rio de Janeiro
What a remarkable end to 10 days of great weightlifting at the Rio Olympics. Riocentro showcased the outstanding performance by 22-year-old winner Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia.
Talakhadze broke Salimi’s snatch world record in the first section of the competition when he lifted 215kg. Salimi took it straight back with 216kg and was favourite going into the clean and jerk.
Talakhadze broke a 16-year-old world record held by Hossein Rezazadeh. He returned to the stage an hour after the +105kg competition to have photos taken with his coaches and to kiss the platform where he had performed so well.
Salimi’s first clean and jerk attempt was no lift, the second was overruled by all five members of the jury judging it no lift and he never came close with his third.
Gor Minasyan of Armenia finished 22kg behind Talakhadze’s 273kg in second place, with Georgia’s Irakli Turmanidze third on 248kg. With no medals going into the event, Georgia finished with a gold and a bronze.
Talakhadze made six good lifts, just as he had done in winning the European title in April.
Talakhadze’s final lift of 258kg, 11kg more than his second, gave him the world record. It had been set at Sydney 2000 by Rezazadeh, the greatest hero of Iranian weightlifting.
“That was enough kilos for me for now,” said Talakhadze. “It’s easier to lift a big weight than to carry the meaning of the gold medal.”
Eager for more gold, Talakhadze has set his sights on the European U23 Championships in Israel in December as his next target. “I don’t have that title,” he said. “I want it.”
Minasyan and Turmenidze benefited from failed lifts by Salimi and by the Estonian Mart Seim, who made only two good lifts and finished sixth. The Brazilian Fernando Reis, cheered all night, was fifth.
There were 21 medal-winning nations, only two short of the record set in Sydney 16 years ago when women’s contests were held for the first time.