Tashkent, Day 3: Two more wins for PRK and a first senior medal for Oman
DPR Korea kept up its 100 per cent record at the Asian Championships in Tashkent by winning both the men’s 67kg and women’s 59kg. That means the scoreboard after seven medal events reads PRK seven titles, everybody else none.
PRK is likely to extend that to eight on Tuesday in the women’s 64kg, but another anthem will be heard after the men’s 73kg because PRK does not have an entry.
This time there were no world records as Ri Won Ju won the 67kg by a wide margin and Kim Il Gyong needed only one clean and jerk to win the women’s Olympic 59kg category. Kim failed with her second clean and jerk and declined her final attempt.
Elyas Tamim (OMA) – Photo credit: Isaac Morillas/awf.sport
Another highlight of the day was a first senior medal for Oman at the Asian Championships, when Elyas Tamim took bronze in snatch and finished fourth on total. His team-mate Amur Al-Khanjari also has a chance of making the podium when he lifts at 89kg on Thursday. Both men spent a year training in Uzbekistan and now train in Iran.
Ri had a clear run to victory when the only man capable of challenging him withdrew after weighing in. Eko Yuli Irawan, who made his international debut in 2006 when Ri was three years old, has had a punishing schedule and his decision was no surprise.
This was a seventh competition in 14 months for Irawan, the 34-year-old Indonesian who is trying to become the first weightlifter in history to win a medal at five consecutive Olympic Games.
After posting a career-best total in Cuba in June and matching it at the World Championships, Irawan bombed out in clean and jerk in the Asian Games and the IWF Grand Prix in Qatar – the only time in 18 years when he has failed to make a total.
Ri Won Ju (PRK) – Photo credit: Isaac Morillas/awf.sport
Ri, 21, was 9kg clear at halfway and 25kg ahead of Sairamkez Akmolda from Kazakhstan at the finish. Ri made 137-180-317, and Akmolda 126-166-292. Teerawat Ratphet from Thailand was third on his international debut. Ratphet, 24, was second in snatch and made 128-158-286.
This was Ri’s third international competition, all in the past four months. On his debut he came close to defeating the Chinese Olympic champion and world record holder Chen Lijun at the Asian Games, where he failed with his final attempt. Today Ri went for Chen’s clean and jerk world record with a final attempt of 189kg, but again he failed.
Arguably the happiest man on the podium was Tamim. “I am too, too happy. I have been a weightlifter for 11 years and this is my first medal and my country’s first medal,” he said.
Tamim, 25, and his sole team-mate Al-Khanjari are in familiar surroundings, having been coached in Uzbekistan for a year. In the past few months they have been based in Iran and coached by the Sydney 2000 gold medallist Hossein Tavakoli.
“It’s going well, very nice there, very good conditions,” said Tamim, who made 127-157-284 to improve his best Olympic ranking total by 2kg. He is too far down the list to make it to Paris but Al-Khanjari is closer at 89kg, 14kg short of the top ten in 21st place.
Women’s 59kg podium – Photo credit: Isaac Morillas/awf.sport
Hu Jyun-Siang from Chinese Taipei made 164kg for a bronze medal in clean and jerk after bombing out in snatch.
There were plenty more bombouts in the women’s session, in which Kim was a clear winner. In making 103-122-225 she was more than 20kg down on her best total, and was PRK’s first female champion not to set at least one world record here.
Third-placed Natasya Beteyob from Indonesia made 96-116-212 to improve her best Olympic ranking total by 2kg but it was a bad day for five others.
Elreen Ando from the Philippines, 10th in the extended list, failed with three attempts in her 93-120-213, which was good enough for second place but 9kg down on her best qualifying total.
Enkhtamir Enkhbaatar from Mongolia was 28kg below her best in fifth place with a total of 178kg, and three others bombed out. Sarah from Indonesia and Thanaporn Saetia from Thailand failed with all three clean and jerks, while Quang Thi Tam from Vietnam tried and failed six times.
By Brian Oliver