Kazakhstan derailed the Chinese gold run on the sixth day of Asian Games weightlifting on Thursday, top drawcards Ilya Ilyin and Svetlana Podobedova turning in podium-topping performances.
Ilyin, the reigning Olympic champion, clawed back a 8kg deficit in the snatch to win a nail-biting men's 94kg contest by 1kg from Iranian Asghar Ebrahimi Farbod.
But Podobedova confirmed the form that saw her retain her title in world record-breaking fashion at the world championships in Turkey in September, crushing all before her in the women's — 75kg class.
The 24-year-old Podobedova completely outclassed her rivals at a Dongguan Gymnasium packed to the rafters in the hope of a home victory.
But China's Cao Lei, the reigning Olympic champion and defending Asiad champion, was left 22kg light for the silver medal, with another Kazakh, Tatyana Khromova, claiming bronze. “I'm very happy with the result and it's a pity I didn't take part in the Beijing Olympics,” Podobedova said.
Fresh from having set a cleansweep of world records in September's world championships in Turkey (an aggregate of 295kg from a snatch of 134kg and clean and jerk of 161kg), Podobedova said she was content not to have gone for more records here.
“Just because I broke the world record in Turkey doesn't mean I have to here. The result was good enough, and I'll now prepare for the next championships,” she said.
The battle for minor podium placings commenced immediately as Podobedova opted out until all other lifters had completed their three snatches, as she also did in the clean and jerk. The Kazakh, sporting a heavy fringe and with the rest of her jet black hair pulled back into a pony tail trailing all the way down her back, easily snatched 130kg before hoisting 157kg to gasps from an astonished crowd for a total of 287kg.
Ilyin was involved in what really could be described as a “game of two halves” with Iran's former Asian champion Ebrahimi, who led him in the snatch by 8kg after a best of 183kg. But Ilyin, the Asian record holder in the clean and jerk, came good in the second section, biding his time to bag the requisite 219kg and the narrowest of victories over the Iranian, with South Korean Kim Min-Jae taking bronze.