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Weightlifter Sara Ahmed made history on 21 August in Nanjing when she topped the standings in the women’s 63kg weightlifting at Nanjing 2014. In doing so she became the first Egyptian woman to win individual gold in an Olympic competition.
It was just the second ever YOG medal won by Egyptian athletes, following the silver claimed by the rhythmic gymnastics squad at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
In a dominant performance Ahmed lifted 103kg in the snatch, well ahead of the next best lift of 94kg by Mongolia’s Ankhtsetseg Munkhjantsan. The 16-year-old Egyptian also posted the top result in the clean and jerk, lifting 125kg for a total of 228kg.
An emotional Ahmed was relieved her preparation had paid off. “Many things helped me become the best,” she said. “Hard work and training for more than two years, and my coach, who has supported me for two years.
“I’m very happy that I won the first gold medal for Egypt [at Nanjing 2014]. It’s the first Olympic title for me and I hope there will be more to come.”
Ana Lilia Duran Ayon (MEX) collected silver, lifting 90kg in the snatch and 120kg in the clean and jerk to post a total of 210kg, edging bronze medallist Sofiya Zenchenko (UKR) by a mere 2kg.
Zenchenko matched Duran Ayon’s score in the clean and jerk but could only manage 88kg on her third attempt in the snatch for a total of 208kg.
Despite her impressive start, Munkhjantsan narrowly missed out on a podium spot, lifting a total of 207kg.
Gold medallist Mkrtchyan (centre) is flanked by Ragala (IND, silver) and Kaliyev (KAZ, bronze)
Joy for Armenia as Mkrtchyan grabs gold
In the men’s 77kg event Hakob Mkrtchyan claimed gold for Armenia, lifting 142kg in the snatch and 177kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 319kg.
Venkat Rahul Ragala (IND), who lifted 141kg in the snatch, ultimately had to settle for silver after he failed with his final lift, an attempt at 179kg in the clean and jerk.
Ragala finished with a total of 316kg and admitted the competition had been “very tough”. “I ran out of oxygen,” he said of his last attempted lift.
The battle for bronze was tight between Zhaslan Kaliyev (KAZ) and Ahmed Elsayed (EGY). Elsayed looked to have secured third place with a final lift of 176kg and a total of 311kg, but the lift was disallowed by the judges, giving the Egyptian a revised total of 306kg. The decision sent Kaliyev’s supporters into raptures as he claimed bronze with a total of 310kg.