India's hopes get a dent

BUSAN Oct. 3. India's hopes of gaining a medal from the weightlifting competitions of the 14th Asian Games received an yet another blow when Commonwealth Games gold medallist Prathima Kumari could no better than achieve a poor fifth place of the women's 63 kg category at the Puykong National University gymnasium on Thursday.

With Pratima's failure, the Indian aspiration of a medal in the sport rests on the shoulders of Pujari Shailaja, another Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 75kg class, who will take the floor on Monday (Oct. 7).

Though there was no lack of effort, Pratima could not match the superiority of strength shown by her rivals at any time of the competition today. And thereby the Bihar-born was simply outclassed by the entrants from China, Myanmar, Chinese Taipei and South Korea right at the start itself what with the Indian being able to lift only 90 kg in the snatch.

In the clean & jerk, the Indian's best effort was 115.0 kg and this gave her a tied total of 205 kg along with Olga Sablina of Kazakhstan. However, it was the Kazakh lifter who was awarded the fourth spot on account of her lower body weight.

The event, as such, was otherwise dominated by China's Liu Xia who enroute to winning the gold also created a new world record in the clean and jerk. The 21-year-old Beijing-born lifter who started off with a 97.5kg attempt in the snatch went on to lift 105 kg through her next two trails. In the clean and jerk too, she was markedly superior lifting 127.5 kg in her first attempt, by which time the others in the competitors had completed their routine.

Then, came the world-record breaking effort of 135.5 (old record - 135 kg held by Ukraine's Nataliya Skakun) with Liu lifting the bar with such grace and poise. Later, she did make an attempt to improve the new record to 137.5 kg but failed to meet with success. Liu collected the gold thus by totalling 240 kg, a good 20 kg more than the silver-medallist Khin Moe New of Myanmar who had good lifts of 100kg in the snatch and 120 kg in the clean and jerk. Kuo Ping Chun of Chinese Taipei took the bronze with a total of 217.5 kg.

In the men's section, China continued with its domination as Zhang Guozheng helped his country to the top position in the 69 kg category. The 28-year-old Chinese was all class as he outclassed the rest of the field with a total of 345 kg, which was made up of the 155 kg that he lifted in snatch and 190 kg in the clean and jerk.

Erwin Abdullah helped Indonesia to the silver with a total of 332.5 kg while the bronze went to Iran's Panzvan Langroudi (325 kg).

The results:

Men: 69 kg: 1. Zhang Guozheng (Chn), (155+190=345), 2. Erwin Abdullah (Ina), (142.5+185=332.5), 3. Panzvan Langroudi (Iri), (150+175=325).

Women: 63 kg: 1. Liu Xia (Chn), (105+135=240), 2. Khin Moe Nwe (Mya), (100+120=220), 3. Kuo Ping Chun (Tpe), (97.5+120 =217.5). 5th: Pratima Kumari (Ind), (90+115=205kg).

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