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ELBAKH Shines as QAT Claims First-Ever Gold; CHN Picks Up Fifth Gold with LYU

ELBAKH Fares Ibrahim exploded with emotion Saturday night after making his opening 217kg clean and jerk. With that lift, he etched himself into Olympic history, winning his nation, QAT, its first ever Olympic gold medal in any sport. 

“I am literally speechless about that. I hope that they are proud of me. I promise this is not the end, we still have more and more coming soon. We will do our best to make it even better,” ELBAKH said.

He went on to lift a 225kg clean & jerk on his second attempt, for an Olympic Record in the lift and in total with 402kg. Loaders put 232kg on the bar, which would have been a new world record, but ELBAKH didn’t make it and would have to settle on owning the Olympic Record instead.

“We worked more on the clean & jerk. We were confident about it. We had great competitors so we had to go hard for it and make sure we win,” ELBAKH said.

VALLENILLA SANCHEZ Keydomar (VEN) took home silver with a 287kg total. 

“I am very emotional. I thank God. I appreciate my family, my mother, my father and the Venezuelan federation. I got the silver medal and I’m very happy,” VALLENILLA SANCHEZ said.

It’s the first time since the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984 since Venezuela picked up multiple Olympic medals in a single sport at the same Games. VALLENILLA SANCHEZ’s silver follows MAYORA PERNIA Julio Ruben’s silver medal in the men’s 73kg category.

PLIESNOI Anton, worked through an obvious leg injury, to clean & jerk 210kg on this third attempt, securing the bronze medal also with a 287kg total. 

“I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to lift. I turned off my pain emotions and turned on my other emotions. I did my best,” PLIESNOI said.

While VALLENILLA SANCHEZ and PLIESNOI had identical totals, the silver medal went to VEN since the athlete reached that total first in competition.

CHN’s dominance in the men’s weightlifting competition at these Games continued in the men’s 81kg bodyweight category. LYU Xiaojun (CHN) swept the Olympic records with a 170kg snatch, 204kg clean & jerk and 374kg total, to claim Olympic gold, his nation’s 5th of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

“Weightlifting is my lifetime career. My family is part of my life, and weightlifting is another part of my life. I really loved this weightlifting competition, and weightlifting itself. I think it is a beautiful art, that’s maybe why I can take part for such a long time,” LYU said. 

LYU turned 37 years old three days ago. 

“Perhaps I can continue until I am 40,” LYU said. “I really enjoy having this opportunity to compete and work with the young athletes on the stage. I would like to thank my fans for believing in me and for the support.”

In an exciting back-and-forth clean & jerk competition, several athletes were vying for spots on the podium. 

ONNAT MICHEL Zacarias (DOM) secured the silver with a 367kg, his nation’s first Weightlifting medal. 

“I feel like I’m in a dream. It’s historical for my country,” ONNAT MICHEL said. “It’s the eighth Olympic medal in the history of the country, so I feel overwhelmed.”

PIZZOLATO Antonino secured ITA’s third weightlifting medal of these Games with a 365kg total. 

“What’s happening is that we started believing in it. We have a great team and we’re not afraid of others,” PIZZOLATO said.

After securing bronze with his second clean & jerk attempt, PIZZOLATO tried a 210kg clean & jerk which would have set a new World Record.

“Obviously I was disappointed, but that feeling was replaced almost immediately with a feeling of joy for having won the medal. Any athlete would have wanted a different medal, but nevertheless I’m very happy that I got the bronze. This is something that will ignite me to try even harder,” PIZZOLATO said.

Earlier in the day’s combined men’s combined 81kg and 96kg B session, TCHATCHET II Cyrille took the platform representing the Refugee Olympic Team (EOR). He placed 10th overall with a 350kg.

“It didn’t go as planned. But I am happy with the result,” TCHATCHET said. “Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but you still have to celebrate our achievement, no matter how small or minor they are. So I am happy with my results.”