Both the women’s and the men’s Grand Prix titles were captured by the champions of the home country on the first day of the International Baku Cup. According to the start list, in the women’s 53kg, local favourite Cristina Iovu, silver medallist of the recent World Championships, had to face challenge from Mo Fengjiao, however, the Chinese was unable to live up to the expectations and – after a second place in snatch – failed to achieve a valid result in clean and jerk and a total (110kg). In turn, Cristina Iovu progressed confidently and finished the competition as the winner with 5 good lifts and a 208kg total. Her teammate Yuliya Derkach remained at her heels and captured the second place with 192kg.
The 2nd edition of the International Baku Cup Grand Prix, organised in an excellent manner by the Azerbaijan Weightlifting Federation at the splendid Weightlifting Academy with the participation of representatives from 23 countries, continued with the men’s 62kg – another star category for the hosts.
Truly, it was no major surprise that Azerbaijan’s favourite “wonder-boy” Valentin Hristov stole the show. The Olympic third, junior world champion and record holder, in spite of a weaker-than-usual output, dominated the field and pocketed the gold medals along with the USD5,000 prize of the Grand Prix. Azerbaijan’s other dynamite entry, Yuri Dudoglo delivered what was expected from him on home turf. In fact, the two men fought a private duel, whereby Dudoglo largely improved his personal best to 283kg and Hristov – already winner – showed that he was king pinning 165kg for a 240kg total. Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Makarov went home with the USD2,000 prize money for the bronze medallist.