Wednesday, November 17, 2010

North Korea's Pang wins surprise gold after Su meltdown

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GUANGZHOU: North Korean Pang Kum Chol claimed a surprise gold in the men's Asian Games -77kg weightlifting on Tuesday after favourite Su Dajin suffered a meltdown in the clean and jerk.

Su, third in the world championships in Turkey in September, was odds on to win at the Dongguan Gymnasium in front of a raucous crowd of home supporters, but the 24-year-old never looked comfortable at the bar.

Pang was consistent and importantly nailed his first clean and jerk, the pressure becoming unbearable for Su who bombed all his three efforts and finished the day unclassified.

As a result, Kazakhstan duo Kirill Pavlov and Dauren Shauyeteyev claimed silver and bronze respectively after initially expecting to battle it out for the lowest podium placing.

In the absence of world champion and world record holder Lu Xiaojun and Olympic champion Li Hongli, both of China, the scripted duel between Su and Pang, who was ninth at the worlds and Asian silver medallist in 2009, commenced from the off.

The 29-year-old North Korean succeeded at 150 and 156kg while Su's opening snatch was at 158kg.

But the home favourite overbalanced and failed with his first effort. Normality was restored with his second exemplary lift before Pang bombed at 159kg.

Su brought proceedings to a close in the first half of competition when he again overbalanced, this time at 161kg, meaning he enjoyed the slightest advantage of 2kg going into the clean and jerk.

Pang opened his second section at 185kg while Shauyeteyev failed at 186kg to hand compatriot Pavlov the advantage in the fight for minor medals.

Su kept the tension levels high by failing his first clean and jerk at 190kg in front of a near-capacity venue bolstered by flag-waving schoolchildren and students.

When he bombed his second attempt, the crowd knew something was awry. Su also knew, refusing to up the weight for his third effort in order to keep the pressure on Pang.

Su duly failed and was left exiting the stage in disgust with a furious slap to his own face.

Pang took the platform and hoisted 192kg to seal a surprise, second lifting gold for North Korea.

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