By Brian Oliver at the George R Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas
Another day, another two world records at the 2015 IWF World Championships. Boyanka Kostova, the Bulgarian who became an Azerbaijani in 2010, set a snatch world best with her third lift and bettered the mark for the total with her final lift in the women’s 58kg.
With two kilos more on that third clean & jerk she would have had a clean sweep of world bests on the day but it is within her sights. “I will try my best to do it in Rio de Janeiro,” she said, looking ahead to next summer’s Olympic Games.
In an exciting men’s 69kg the “new” Shi Zhiyong followed in the footsteps of the original by taking gold for China. The 22-year-old was renamed by his coach, when he was a boy, after the 2004 62kg Olympic champion Shi Zhiyong, who is now 35.
“It means wisdom and courage,” said Shi. “I was still young when my coach gave me the name and I did not know about the 2004 Olympics. As I grew up I learned all about Shi Zhiyong and I am proud to say we have met since.”
Kostova was in imperious form. She led China’s Deng Mengrong by 4kg after her record-breaking snatch of 112kg, and extended her lead in the clean & jerk. She missed her first attempt at 140kg but had another chance and made it for a total of 252kg.
The Azerbaijan state pays huge rewards to its gold medallists. Last summer, any athlete who won gold in the European Games earned about $100,000, and a delighted Kostova said, “We are very well supported by the government when we win.”
Deng offered her congratulations to Kostova and said, “I will just have to train harder now.”
Kuo Hsing-Chun, of Taipei, finished 15kg behind Kostova for the bronze medal on total and Sukanya Srisurat, of Thailand, took bronze in the snatch.
In the men’s event Oleg Chen, of Russia, who was 27 on Sunday, was beaten by Shi but not disappointed. “I had knee surgery recently and I lifted more than I have ever done, even in training, so I am very pleased with the result,” said Chen, who was 160-184-344.
Turkey’s Daniyar Ismayilov, 23, was third. “A very good result for me and I am looking forward to training hard and doing my best at the Olympics,” he said.
The minor medals in the clean & jerk, which was won by Shi, went to Azerbaijan’s Firidun Guliyev and PR Korea’s Kim Myong Hok.