LONDON, England (AFP) — Oleksiy Torokhtiy of Ukraine was a shock winner of the men's Olympic under-105kg weightlifting competition at the ExCel Arena here yesterday.
Torokhtiy lifted a total of 412kg to beat Iran's Navab Nasirshelal by just one kilo with Bartlomiej Bonk of Poland taking bronze with 410kg in a remarkably close competition.
The total lifted by the gold medallist was the lowest ever at an Olympics or World Championships since the inception of the under-105kg division in 1999.
It was also six kilos less than Ilya Ilyin of Kazakhstan lifted in winning the under-94kg category here.
The competition had been hit by a number of withdrawals before it even began.
World record holder and Beijing winner Andrei Aramnau of Belarus pulled out before the Games began with a thigh injury.
Russian pair Khadzhimurat Akkaev, the 2011 world champion and twice Olympic medallist, and Dmitriy Klokov, the 2005 world champion and silver medallist in Beijing, both withdrew with back injuries the day of the competition.
It meant that three-time world champion Marcin Dolega of Poland was left as the clear favourite but he failed three times to snatch 190kg and was eliminated.
It made for a nail-biting event.
After the earlier withdrawals, with Kim Wha-Seung of South Korea also failing to register a snatch, it left just seven men to contest the medals in the clean and jerk.
Seven became six as Gia Machavariani of Georgia failed twice at 220kg and then once at 225kg in the clean and jerk.
Such was the tight nature of the event, though, that had Machavariani lifted 225kg, he would have taken bronze.
Ivan Eremov of Uzbekistan and Ahed Jughli of Syria soon dropped out of contention as they finished respectively with 401kg and 398kg.
So the four remaining athletes were fighting for the medals.
Uzbek Ruslan Nurudinov went for broke at 226kg in a bid for gold but failed and finished fourth on 404kg.
Bonk had gone top with a lift of 220kg giving him a total of 410kg after which he played a waiting game to see if anyone could better him.
It meant he was forced to take his final lift at 226kg, which he failed.
Torokhtiy was in second on 407kg and failed at 226kg too allowing Nasirshelal, then third on 406kg, to hoist 227kg to move top of the pile with a total of 411kg.
Torokhtiy took his final lift and managed 227kg as well, giving him a 412kg total and as he was lighter than the Iranian, Nasirshelal needed to beat that.
His final effort was at 229kg which would have given him the victory by one kilo but he barely got the bar off the ground and gold went to Ukraine.