Athletes from Thailand and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea dominated a dramatic second day of weightlifting at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, each finishing with one gold and one silver medal. Rattanaphon Pakkaratha (THA) won the women’s 53kg class, while PAK Jongju (PRK) took gold in the men’s 62kg at the International Expo Centre.
The day began with the women taking centre stage and it was no surprise that the battle for gold was between Pakkaratha and Jong Chun Hui (PRK) as they are currently placed third and second respectively in the 53g class in the International Weightlifting Federation’s rankings. They each lifted 81kg to finish the snatch competition tied for top spot, but the Thai was stronger in the clean and jerk. After Jong failed to hoist 105kg with the last of her three lifts, Pakkaratha clinched the title when she raised 106kg above her head with her second lift. She then added three kilos to the bar with her final attempt, and much to her delight, hoisted it over her head. Pakkaratha finished with a combined lift of 190kg, nine better than Jong.
She blew kisses to the audience as she stepped away from the competition zone and was warmly congratulated by her coach. “I’m very excited,’’ said Pakkaratha, who recorded personal bests in both the snatch and the clean and jerk. Tunisia’s Nouha Landoulsi and Yorlis Zabala (VEN) were tied in third place with combined lifts of 175kg, but Landoulsi won the bronze medal because the tie-breaker is based on body weight and she weighed less than her opponent. Zabala missed on two attempts of 97kg in the clean and jerk, and was in tears when she realised that it had cost her a medal. “I’m crying because I lost a medal,’’ said Zabala. “I have trained years and years.’’
The men’s competition also had its fair share of drama. Pak and Mirko Zanni (ITA) led after the snatch, each having lifted 120kg. The Korean lifter then put 143kg into the air in the clean and jerk for a 263kg total to clinch his country’s second weightlifting medal of the day.