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Ukraine's Oleksiy Torokhtiy secures 105kg gold medal

Updated: Tuesday, 07 Aug 2012 09:57 | Comments

Oleksiy Torokhtiy (pictured) took advantage of the absence of Khadzhimurat Akkaev
Oleksiy Torokhtiy (pictured) took advantage of the absence of Khadzhimurat Akkaev

A last-minute back injury that required emergency surgery cost weightlifter Khadzhimurat Akkaev an Olympic gold medal and a clean sweep of world records, the Russian said on Monday.

World champion Akkaev was due to compete in the 105kg category but said he was unable to take to the platform after suffering a herniated disc in his back last week - an injury that mean he was unable to walk until Sunday.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy of Ukraine capitalised on the absence of Akkaev and other top competitors to take gold.

But Akkaev, who took the unusual step of calling an impromptu news conference following the medal ceremony to discuss his injury, said he could have beaten Torokhtiy's 412 kg winning total and had been targetting world records.

"You have to understand this is not the biggest total in weight," Akkaev said of Torokhtiy's performance while offering his congratulations to the Ukrainian.

"It was in our plans to set at least three world records. If we talk about my personal results (in training), the total weight is 455 kilograms."

The Russian weightlifting federation had said on Saturday Akkaev would not compete.

"(The decision) was taken after the surgery, and the surgery was a very difficult and complicated surgery. More than three hours," Akkaev said.

Akkaev stood, baring his back to reporters and displaying a bandaged surgery wound.

But Akkaev's name, alongside that of compatriot Dmitriy Klokov who also withdrew late through injury, remained on the start list until 90 minutes before the event started.

Klokov had failed to recover from a knee injury that also required surgery and had not flown to London, said Davyd Rigert, head coach of the Russian weightlifting team.

He added that the decision to withdraw both athletes had been delayed to give them every chance to recover, but that eventually he had to inform the organisers that he would not be fit to compete.

"Believe me, it was not an easy decision to make," he said.

"It was really a very dramatic decision for me."

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