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11 Oct 2018
Olympic News, Buenos Aires 2018, YOG
Buenos Aires 2018

Margaryan and Belkhir win epic battles for weightlifting gold

There were dramatic finales in both the men’s 77kg and women’s 58kg categories in the weightlifting on day five of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.


In the men’s 77kg, Armenia’s Karen Margaryan and Uzbekistan’s Mukhammadkodir Toshtemirov went down to the last lift, while Tunisia’s Ghofrane Belkhir battled Egypt’s Neama Said in the women’s 58kg.

In the end, Margaryan, winner at the 2018 European Youth Championship, claimed top spot on the podium with a total of 309kg, combining 141kg in snatch and 168kg in clean and jerk to finish just 1kg ahead of Toshtemirov, who fell short with 140kg in the snatch. Egypt’s Abdalla Mostafa secured a bronze medal with a combined score of 295kg.


It was just as tense in the women’s 58kg category. After the snatch, Belkhir led nearest competitor Said by just 1kg, with USA’s Peyton Brown only a further 1kg behind in the bronze medal position. Said then managed 107kg in the clean and jerk to put pressure on her rival with just one lift left. Belkhir was equal to the task, and lifted 108kg with her last lift of the competition to win by just 2kg overall. Brown (USA) took bronze with a total of 186kg.


Elsewhere in the women’s 58kg category, Betty Waneasi, the Solomon Islands’ only weightlifter at the Youth Olympic Games, finished in last place. However, the 16 year old is proud of her performance and believes that simply by taking part, she can not only look to future competitions with confidence, but also inspire future weightlifters back home.

“I never saw such an amount of people watching me lifting before,” she said of the crowd. “But I have performed (at) my best, and being together with young athletes here, athletes of the same age, will give me an idea of what the standard of a large international event will be like.”

Waneasi is trained by compatriot Jenly Wini, who became the country’s first medallist at a Commonwealth Games when she won the 58kg bronze at Gold Coast 2018.


“I just love weightlifting,” she said. “My coach tells me to be prepared for what you dream of doing in life. It takes a step-by-step (approach), without quitting what you love.

My coach hasn’t come here with me this time, but she told me not to be nervous, instead to be strong and concentrated. Betty Waneasi Solomon Islands

Despite Wini’s achievement at Gold Coast 2018, Waneasi said weightlifting facilities in the Solomon Islands remain poor.

“Weightlifting girls especially, we perform well in every competition and keep making my country proud. Hopefully the training conditions (in my country) will be better in the future.”

Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018

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