Strong-arm tactics lift Indonesia's Abdullah to gold and world record

By AFP   October 3, 2023 | 07:32 am PT
Strong-arm tactics lift Indonesia's Abdullah to gold and world record
Indonesia's Rahmat Erwin Abdullah flexes his biceps after winning gold in the men's 73kg weightlifting. Photo by AFP
Bicep-flexing Indonesian Rahmat Erwin Abdullah won weightlifting gold and extended his own world record at the Asian Games on Tuesday after one of the favorites from China crashed out.

Abdullah had already clinched the 73 kg men's gold when he loaded 201 kg on the bar for a final clean and jerk attempt, 1 kg above the record he set in December last year at the World Championships in Bogota.

The Olympic bronze medallist coolly completed the lift to give him a 359 kg winning total, before inviting his coach onto the stage and the pair made strongman poses to the audience.

"I don't really count the world records I break," said Abdullah. "I always want to focus and stay calm in competition.

"The key to winning is to stay calm. I know that I will win. I needed to do that and not waste any energy."

Abdullah's celebrations raised loud cheers from a Hangzhou Sports Center Gymnasium which minutes earlier was shocked into silence as Wei Yinting was eliminated.

Wei, leading Abdullah by 3 kg after the snatch discipline, failed with all three attempts at his opening clean and jerk of 180 kg.

The Chinese said he was carrying a knee injury.

"It affected me a little bit, I was just a little bit anxious to pull up. The knee injury affected the clean and jerk a little bit more, and less in the snatch. It hurts when I try to lift.

"I was not expecting that I could not lift 180 kg."

Wei's disastrous series of no-lifts left the door open for Thailand's world champion Weeraphon Wichuma to take silver on 351.

"I am very happy with this medal because it was very hard work," said Weeraphon.

"It took me two weeks to recover after winning the world championships in Saudi Arabia (in September) and I then had only two weeks to train for this. That's tough."

Abdullah's victory gave him the seventh weightlifting gold of the Games and first for an athlete from outside North Korea or China.

Oh Kum Thaek was third on 344 kg, as North Korea, on their return to international competition after four years away, failed to get on the top two steps of the podium for the first time in the Hangzhou weightlifting competition.

"This is my first competition at the age of 26," said Oh, who has no international pedigree. "I feel a bit regretful that I did not win gold today."

Oh said he started weightlifting at the age of 12 but so far had only taken part in national competitions in North Korea.

"It feels like I started my career today. I will now train and train and do better."

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