Sunday 17 December 2017

Kim wins gold for North Korea as weightlifting records tumble

North Korea's Un Guk Kim jumps celebrating his new world record in total of the men's 62Kg weightlifting competition
North Korea's Un Guk Kim jumps celebrating his new world record in total of the men's 62Kg weightlifting competition

Drew Williams

KIM Un Guk triumphed to win gold in style for North Korea in an exciting men's 62kg competition which saw Olympic and world weightlifting records tumble.

The pre-competition build-up was dominated by talk of a duel between Kim and Chinese rival Zhang Jie, with the duo sparring for world titles over the last two years.

But, amazingly, Zhang was pushed into fourth place as in-form Oscar Albeiro Figueroa Mosquera, from Columbia, took silver ahead of Indonesia's Irawan Eko Yuli on a lighter bodyweight after tying with their final totals.

Kim followed up a snatch of 153kg, which broke the Olympic record and equalled the world best, with a clean and jerk of 174kg, providing him with a stunning personal best total of 327, which also eclipsed both records.

The Olympic record for clean and jerk also fell at ExCeL as Figueroa Mosquera lifted 177kg to help rack up a total of 317kg, level with Eko Yuli, who had to settle for bronze again after doing so four years ago.

To add insult to injury for fourth-placed Zhang, it was his total world record which was also sent crashing by rival Kim.

It was North Korea's second gold medal in as many days after Om Yun Chol's sensational victory from the B group in yesterday's 56kg weight category.

And like Om, Kim hailed North Korea's regime for his triumph, saying: "Not just today, but we had another gold yesterday.

"The secret is nothing but the support and encouragement from our supreme leader chairman Kim Jong-un, because he expects so much for all our athletes and he expects the highest performance from all our athletes."

Om added: "Instead of thinking of ourselves, we focus on the country and winning for our country."

Eko Yuli's third place added to the bronze he picked up in Beijing four years ago. And the 23-year-old cannot wait to return home and celebrate with his wife.

"My wife is still at home as she is pregnant and due to give birth in two weeks," he said. "I will become a father to a baby girl.

"I have to say thank you to the crowd in London, who were really inspiring. But I also must thank the support back home in Indonesia."

Earlier today, China's Li Xueying took Olympic gold in the women's 58kg, setting a new Games record in the snatch (108kg) and total (246kg) while equalling the current clean and jerk best (138kg).

Like North Korea, it was China's second weightlifting gold medal of London 2012 having dominated proceedings four years ago on home soil.

Asked how her nation are so strong, Li replied: "Because we are better. We pay extra attention to detail in our training and take it very, very seriously."

Thailand's Pimsiri Sirikaew won silver narrowly ahead of Yuliya Kalina, from Ukraine, who walked off with bronze.

But Kalina was still overjoyed to take her place on the winners' podium after a nailbiting finale to the event.

"Of course I was nervous," she said. "I saw my coach watching the standings and my knees started shaking. I thought I was going to break down and cry.

"I couldn't believe it when he told me I had come third, I had to check the standings myself."

Great Britain's Zoe Smith finished 12th overall having set a new British clean and jerk record (121kg) and new personal best total (211kg) in the earlier B group.

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport