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Superheavyweights and records

Tatiana Kashirina, from Russia, set five world records on her way to victory in the women’s super-heavyweight category on another remarkable day at the IWF World Championships in Almaty. She won by 28kg, was more than 50kg clear of the bronze medallist, and beat three of her 11 rivals by 100kg or more.

In a great day for Russia they won all three golds in the men’s +105kg too. The favourite, Behdad Salimikordasiabi from Iran, was below his best and Ruslan Albegov won the snatch and the total, with his teammate Aleksei Lovchev taking the clean-and-jerk gold despite having failed with all three snatch attempts.

The spread of medals on the final day left North Korea top of the medals table for the first time not just in weightlifting, but in any sporting world championship.

Kashirina, 23, is 13kg lighter than her closest challenger here, Meng Suping of China, but she did not even start lifting until Meng and the other 10 lifters had finished their three lifts in the snatch.

The target to beat was Meng’s 140kg. Rather than start on 140, which would have been enough for gold, Kashirina went in at 145, then broke her own world record with a lift of 152kg. She made that look easy, and returned to beat it again, lifting 155kg.

That huge lead meant the contest was over already – the only question was, how many more times would Kashirina break world records. The answer was three: two in the total and, to complete a full house, a clean-and-jerk best of 193kg.

That clean-and-jerk beat the world best set at the Asian Games six weeks ago by Loulou Zhou. Zhou, China’s number one in this +75kg category, was not in the team here after her exertions in South Korea.

China ended with nine golds compared to 20 last year.

“We are disappointed,” said Meng. “We must try to find out why we are not so good as before, but we will be strong again, especially in the Olympics.”

Kashirina made five lifts – she did not bother with her sixth – and broke one or more world records with four of them. The 14kg increase in the total was the biggest margin of gain in any world record since the new weight categories were introduced in 1998.

Meng won all three silvers and two Thai lifters shared the bronze medals. At one point in the clean-and-jerk, while Kashirina was waiting for everyone to finish, the two Thais – Chitchanok Pulsabsakul and Praeonapa Khenjantuek, had six successive lifts.

“We’re good friends and we train together, but in competition it’s a fight,” said Khenjantuek. “But after this we’re friends again.” Pulsabsakul took bronze in the snatch and overall, while Khenjantuek came third in the clean-and-jerk.

In the men’s super-heavyweights both the top two said they were performing well below their best. Runner-up Salimikordasiabi missed a year of training during a dispute with the national team coach, since departed, and said he was only able to perform at 80per cent of his best.

Albegov had a back injury that interrupted his preparations. “I could only train properly once a week, and I can do better,” he said.

Mohamed Ehsan, from Egypt, took the overall bronze, 26kg behind Albegov and 21kg behind Salimikordsiabi, who failed with his gold-medal attempt at 257kg.

by Brian Oliver

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