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Tashkent, Day 8: Man Asaad back from injury to surprise Minasyan – and it’s a good day for Iraq and Japan 

Olympic bronze medallist Man Asaad returned to the international platform for the first time in 14 months and achieved both his aims in an exciting super-heavyweight session in Tashkent – victory in the Asian Championships and a continental record in clean and jerk. 

On the final day of competition there were also moves in the rankings by the Iraqi teenager Ali Yusur and the popular Japanese Eishiro “Tank” Murakami, both of whom improved their best qualifying total by 8kg. 

At 109kg there was gold for the host nation’s hero Ruslan Nurudinov and a first medal for UAE. 

Man Asaad (SYR) – Photo credit: Isaac Morillas/

Asaad’s targets looked optimistic. A shoulder injury plagued him throughout 2023, and to reach them he had to beat the double Asian champion Gor Minasyan from Bahrain, who finished one place ahead of him in Tokyo and is second in the rankings for Paris 2024. 

While Asaad has been recovering and training in Damascus, Minasyan has won Asian Games gold, his second Asian title, and been on the podium at the World Championships. 

This time he failed with his third snatch and his last two clean and jerks. That left Minasyan on 207-236-443, ahead of Asaad by 14kg. If the Syrian could make 252kg he would have gold and that Asian record. He jumped 15kg to make the lift and declined his final attempt, finishing 192-252-444. 

“I’ve done what I set out to do. Now I need to work on my snatch, then I can think about more far-away targets like Paris,” he said.

Asaad and Minasyan are so far up the Olympic rankings they do not need to lift in the final qualifier, the IWF World Cup in Thailand which ends on April 11. They may opt for weigh-in only. 

Yusur moved one place up the rankings to ninth after a huge improvement on his best clean and jerk. Like Asaad he made only one snatch, finishing 191-234-425 for third place ahead of Rustam Djangabaev from Uzbekistan.

“That is 13 kilos more than my best clean and jerk,” said Yusur, 19, who failed with two attempts at a junior snatch world record of 199kg. “Next time there will be more.” 

Murakami boosted his qualifying chances when he moved from 12th into the top 10 from the B Group. He was ninth for a couple of hours after making 190-231-421, but dropped down one place when Yusur made 4kg more than him. 

“Tank is looking good for Paris!” he said. “I will lift in Thailand and I know I can make more because my national record is 425.” 

Hojamuhammet Toycchyev from Turkmenistan, fourth in Tokyo, withdrew from the B Group after weigh-in and needs to improve by about 25kg in Thailand if he is to qualify for Paris. He has been troubled by a right knee injury and has bettered 400kg only once in qualifying, leaving him 15th in the rankings. 

Ruslan Nurudinov (UZB) – Photo credit: Isaac Morillas/

Nurudinov has no chance of qualifying for Paris, where there is no 109kg category, and made hard work of his 175-207-382, which was 50kg lower than his best total in a career that began in 2009. The highlight was Olympic gold in 2016.

After making his second clean and jerk he retired, and was soon flat out in the warm-up area with ice packs on his back. 

Men’s +109Kg podium – Photo credit: Isaac Morillas/

“That was painful,” he said. “I’m 32, I have a back injury and I’m feeling my age, but I won’t retire yet. I will continue until November, the World Championships in Bahrain, and try to finish with a medal.”

Nurudinov’s 21-year-old team-mate Sharofiddin Amriddinov won the snatch and finished 176-205-381. Amriddinov made all six lifts, as did the only other athlete in the field, Ezzeddin Al Ghafeer from UAE – his country’s first ever medallist at the Asian Championships on 167-201-368.

By Brian Oliver