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Updated: October 8, 2010 00:42 IST

Sudhir Kumar gets a lucky bronze

S. Sabanayakan
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Sudhir Kumar
AFP
Sudhir Kumar

Not many would know where Nauru is. But for the 26-year-old Peter Yukio the world's smallest island nation in South Pacific would not have picked up its first gold medal of the Commonwealth Games.

The stocky weightlifter powered to the gold medal of the men's 77 kg class with a superlative display that left his rivals bemused. The Nauruan, holder of all three records in Commonwealth championship, erased India's Satheesha Rai's name from the Commonwealth Games' record books by lifting 148 kg in the snatch event. Rai's record was 147 kg.

When Yukio hoisted 185 kg in his first attempt of clean and jerk to reach a total of 333, he erased Aussie Damian Brown's name. Brown's record was 327 kg. The only record he could not break, despite trying twice to lift 188 kg, was in clean and jerk leaving Brown's record intact at 187.

Ben Turner, Australia's big hope and a gold medallist in 69 kg at Melbourne, benefited immensely when Yukio injured himself four years ago and went out of contention. But on Thursday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex Yukio made sure Turner was nowhere near the gold medal with an impressive display.

Effortless

Turner and the rest, including India's Chitradurga Padmaraju Sudhir Kumar, failed to progress beyond 133 kg. Yukio came on to effortlessly lift 143 and raise it to 148.

The only competitor who stood against him was Nigerian hulk Felix Cobham Ekpo who failed to lift 148 in his first attempt which would have given him the record.

Similarly, in clean and jerk event, only Yukio and Ekpo remained. Both began at 185. While the Nauruan cleared it in his first attempt, the Nigerian failed thrice to go out of the competition. As Ekpo broke down in the warm-up area, India's Sudhir Kumar was all smiles on the victory podium to receive the unexpected bronze medal.

Agatha Obioma Okoli of Nigeria won gold in the women's 63 kg weight class with a total lift of 211 kg thus giving her country the second gold medal of the Games' weightlifting event.

The Wales' captain and defending champion Michaela Breeze, who was planning to end her international career with a gold medal, was beaten by the 18-year-old Nigerian. Michaela totalled 202 for silver. Nineteen-year-old Cameroonian Marie Josephe Fegue took bronze with 198.

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