Poland’s Adrian Edward Zielinski emerged triumphant by virtue of just 130 grams in bodyweight to claim Olympic gold after a star-studded cast in the men’s 85kg fell by the wayside.
Zielinski, the 2010 world champion, was level with Russia’s 19-year-old lifter Apti Aukhadov on a total of 385kg after a thrilling competition – but with ties decided by the pre-weigh-in, it was Zielinski who proved marginally lighter on the scales (84.62kg to 84.75kg).
Current world champion Kianoush Rostami, from Iran, had to settle for bronze after failing with his final lift of 214kg, which would have tied all three men on a 385kg total.
A host of lifters went into the event with a real chance of victory but that leading pack was soon cut by three.
Beijing 2008 silver medallist and world and Olympic record holder Andrei Rybakou, from Belarus, failed all three snatch attempts having been hindered by what appeared to be a right leg injury, as did Iran’s Asian champion Sourab Moradi and France’s Benjamin Didier Hennequin.
Lu Yong took a slender lead into the interval having lifted a modest 178kg in the snatch – three kilos ahead of Aukhadov, four clear of Zielinski and seven from Rostami.
But China’s reigning gold medallist – the only man competing from the nation’s eight winners at Beijing 2008 – floundered in the clean and jerk and he too was also eliminated after failing to get close with any of his attempts to lift 205kg.
That left just Aukhadov, Zielinski and Rostami. And it was Zielinski who took his place on the top spot of the podium after lifting 211kg compared to Aukhadov (210kg) and Rostami (209kg).