Moment of the Year by Kornel Jancso
Each competition – World Championships especially – is full of noteworthy moments; the only question is which one will be burned in your memory forever.
The Paris 2011 World Championships Paris, France, was no exception: dramatic fights for the medals abounded and the intensity of duels, the bitter fights, not mentioning the World Records, captured the spectators again and again. As far as I am concerned, I was most captivated by the events in the Women’s 63kg. More than one snapshot of this category has stuck in my memory’s subjective filter; developments that are not too frequent even at such peak events.
It started with one of the hot favourites, Maneza from Kazakhstan, the defending champion finishing only third in snatch with 109kg, following Chinese Ouyang and Russian Tsarukaeva. The latter, by the way, performed a special feat cancelling the oldest (6 years old) Women’s World Record with her successful 117kg. Being the other main contender for the gold, Tsarukaeva thus obtained a considerable advantage not only psychologically but also measurable in kilos. However, that was not to be the end of the competition! The Russian, performing six on six and reaching 138kg in clean and jerk, totaled an impressive 255kg and there was only one woman left in the race. Maneza, holder of the clean and jerk world record with 143kg, called for 147kg for her last attempt. If successful, the Kazakh captures the victory for both the jerk and the total.
Excitement brimming over, Maneza cleans and jerks the weight, throws herself in the arms of her coach, the Kazakh camp jubilant… but the magic lasts only for seconds. The referees fail the attempt on account of press-out. Falling from heaven down to earth, the disappointment obviously enormous, but when it comes to the victory ceremony it’s the “old” Maneza again. She is by no means crushed by the failure, by bad luck; she is smiling in spite of all the disappointment. She had a chance to do the bravura of becoming world champion for the third time in a row after 2009 and 2010, had she completed a good lift on 147kg. Alas, she failed. But she is behaving as a real sport, braving the blow. If considering only this feature of Maneza’s character (while she has many others) I am sure that have several jubilant moments are still waiting for her when she will feel being not in hell but in heaven, and not only for a transitional period but for a prolonged time, thanks to her exceptional faculties in this sport and as a result of unchallengeable lifts.