Weightlifting: Salimi leads Iranian one-two
Updated: Tuesday, 07 Aug 2012 20:08
Behdad Salimi added the Olympic crown to his reigning world and Asian titles as he triumphed in the men's +105kg and brought the curtain down on weightlifting at the 2012 Games.
Salimi, from Iran, was the red-hot favourite for victory and the super heavyweight rose to the occasion to confirm his title as the 'strongest lifter in the world'.
The 22-year-old managed a total of 455kg, which was not enough to eclipse the mammoth 472kg world and Olympic record managed by legendary compatriot Hossein Rezazadeh in 2000, but it did clinch Iran's first weightlifting gold since 2004.
And the vast numbers of Iranian fans inside ExCeL were afforded further delight after Sajjad Anoushiravani (449kg) took silver, with Russia's Ruslan Albegov (448kg) going home with bronze.
Beijing gold medallist Matthias Steiner was cruelly denied the chance to defend his crown after he was forced to withdraw following the most worrying injury seen on the lifting stage at these Games.
Making his second snatch attempt of 196kg, Steiner was unable to raise the weights fully and, falling back, could not help but drop the bar down on to his head and then shoulder.
Steiner, a former lifter for his homeland of Austria before switching to represent Germany, fortunately managed to walk off stage but forfeited his third attempt to receive treatment, and it was later announced he would not be able to continue and headed to hospital for a routine assessment.
It was a disappointing end for Steiner, who captured hearts in Beijing having claimed gold after his wife had been killed in a car crash the previous year.
The focus returned to the lifting following Steiner's injury and it was Salimi, as expected, who was central to proceedings although he found himself pushed into second place on bodyweight at the halfway stage.
Salimi's best lift of 208kg - six kilos adrift of his world record set last November - was matched by Russia's Albegov, who was ahead due to the considerable 21kg in bodyweight he was conceding to the Iranian.
But Salimi's first clean and jerk of 247kg effectively clinched matters, with Albegov only managing 240kg and Anoushiravani, third after the snatch, moving up into second place overall having lifted 245kg.
Salimi had the chance to add the clean and jerk world record to his snatch record but did not get close to raising 264kg in his second attempt and, with gold in the bag, passed on his final lift to start the celebrations early.