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Armenia’s Simon Martirosyan won gold in the men’s +85kg weightlifting division on an entertaining night that featured the French rugby team cheering their compatriot, Anthony Coullet to the bronze.
From the outset, Martirosyan set a pace that nobody had a chance of matching. Before competition starts, contestants must state the minimum amount they want on the barbell for their first lift in both the snatch and the clean and jerk, and these figures are displayed publicly.
Martirosyan’s starting weight in the snatch was 170kg, which was 30kg more than that listed by silver medallist Tamas Kajdoci (Serbia), who opted to lift 145kg when the moment arrived.
The Armenian then wowed the crowd with a lift of 221kg in the clean and jerk – just short of double his body weight – to confirm the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games title.
After he lifted 205kg with his second attempt in the clean and jerk, Martirosyan stunned the audience when he added 16kg for his third lift. He stood over the barbell, stamped his feet and proved his strength with a clean lift.
His total was 391kg, 55kg heavier than Kajdoci’s barbell. The bronze went to Anthony Coullet (FRA), who lifted 327 kg.
The best battle of the night was for bronze, between Coullet and Saeid Reza Zadeh Pir Alvan (IRI).
Coullet had just cleared his third and final lift in the snatch of 142kg, when the French gold medal-winning rugby sevens team strolled into the arena. The players had the medals around their necks and had spelled out their countryman’s name with markers on their bare chests.
Coullet had a two-kilogram lead on the Iranian after the snatch but failed at 181kg with his first lift in the jerk to put pressure on himself.
With cries of “Allez, Allez” raining down from his compatriots, Coullet was good on his second attempt at 181kg, but when the Iranian lifted 183kg with his second lift, it left them deadlocked with one lift to go.
Coullet nailed a lift of 185kg and when Reza Zadeh Pir Alvan failed at 187kg, the bronze went to the Frenchman.
Backstage, Coullet kissed his coach while the rugby players celebrated by pumping their fists into the air.