Olympics: North Korean weight-lifter breaks world record

July 31st, 2012 - 9:13 am ICT by IANS  

London, July 31 (IANS) North Korea’s Kim Un Guk broke the world record in men’s 62 kg category weight-lifting on the way to win gold at the London Olympics Monday.

Kim opened up a big lead by snatching 153 kg, equalling the world record held by Chinese lifter Shi Zhiyong since 2002, Xinhua reported.

He held on to his lead in the clean-and-jerk, lifting 174 kg to notch a world and Olympic record total 327 kg. The previous world mark of 326 kg was set by Chinese lifter Zhang Jie in 2008 at the Asian Championships.

Kim, who stands 1.58 metres tall, saluted to a cheering audience with standing ovation as he won the second weight-lifting gold here for his country.

“I want to lift up the world,” the 23-year-old said.

“(North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un is waiting for the news so I will be pleased to get the news to him. The whole country will be happy, and the father of the country will be very happy too.”

Zhang Jie, the 2011 world champion, succeeded in only two lifts during the competition, with 140 kg in his first snatch attempt and 174 kg in first clean-and-jerk. He twice failed to jerk 178 kg, an Olympic record, and had to settle for fourth.

After the match, Zhang said he was happy with his snatch results, but his clean-and-jerk was a problem.

“I felt a bit nervous,” he admitted. “In the first clean-and-jerk I felt something strange about the way I was holding the bar, so I tried to change it. It didn’t work.”

The silver medal went to Colombia’s Oscar Albeiro Figueroa Mosquera, who was on brink of elimination when he failed to lift 177 kg in the clean-and-jerk but managed to deliver a successful lift on his final attempt and set an Olympic record.

“Concentration. Somehow I managed to maintain my concentration even after my first failure,” Figueroa said.

Indonesian lifter Irawan Eko Yuli won the bronze medal with a total of 317 kg, the same as Figueroa, but was placed behind the Colombian because of heavier bodyweight.

Earlier in the women’s 58 kg category, China’s Li Xueying won gold with a 246 kg total, surpassing the previous Olympic record of 244 kg.

Pimsiri Sirikaew of Thailand grabbed silver with a total of 236 kg, and Ukrainian Yuliya Kalina took bronze with 235 kg.

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