First Published: 2004-08-26

 
Iran's Rezazadeh win second Olympic gold
 

Herculean effort wins Rezazadeh second straight Olympic weightlifting gold by lifting new world record of 263.5kg.

 

Middle East Online

By John Crean - ATHENS

Rezazadeh is the 'World's Strongest Man'

Iran's Hossein Rezazadeh proved himself a modern-day Hercules by lifting a new world record of 263.5kg, roughly equivalent to two fridge freezers, on his way to winning his second straight Olympic weightlifting gold on Wednesday.

The 'World's Strongest Man' flattened the opposition underfoot with an incredible display of power-lifting in the superheavyweight showdown.

Iranian icon Rezazadeh, a colossus who stands over six-foot tall and weighs just under 163kg, won with a total of 472.5kg which equalled his own world record.

Viktors Scerbatihs of Latvia took the silver with 455kg, a stunning 17.5kg behind, with Velichko Cholakov of Bulgaria in third with 447.5kg. It was Latvia's first ever Olympic weightlifting medal.

Two-time world champion Rezazadeh, who has ruled over his fellow superheavies since winning gold in Sydney four years ago, sealed his fame with the clean and jerk world record lift of 263.5kg.

Having failed once, he summoned up extra power by praying to an Islamic prophet. This time the lift was good and the hordes of Iranians in the arena shouted as one in appreciation of their hero.

Rezazadeh, 26, bent down and kissed the wooden lifting platform to signal the arrival of a new Hercules in Greece.

Man-mountain Rezazadeh captivated the crowd with sensational lifting combined with showmanship during the snatch.

With a prayer to the prophet, whose name was emblazoned across his chest, Rezazadeh lifted the bar to the heavens on three occasions.

After taking the lead with an awesome lift of 210kg, he nodded his head and blew out his cheeks in joy before kissing the Iran flag on his vest and raising a single finger to signify that he was number one.

He was just 2.5kg ahead of Cholakov after the snatch but his opponents knew that the mighty Iranian was well on his way to retaining his Olympic title.

Germany's Rony Weller, the people's favourite after explosive medal-winning displays at four previous Olympics, was forced out of the competition with an injury after the snatch section.

The 35-year-old, one of the most decorated lifters in Olympic history with a gold, two silvers and a bronze to his name, was bidding for a record fifth medal.

But the German hurt himself when lifting 195kg and pulled out after making one more attempt.

There was a shock before the start with the non-appearance of 'soldier of fortune' Jaber Saeed Salem representing Qatar.

The highly-rated Jaber, who as Yani Marchokov moved to Qatar with seven Bulgarian teammates for a reported fee of 1 million US dollars, was world champion in 2001 and won the snatch competition in last year's event.

The Qatar-based Bulgarians have a habit of failing to appear at major events fuelling speculation about their training methods.

Two competitors pulled out of the 2000 Sydney Olympics at the 11th hour and another withdrew from the 2002 Asian Games because of a virus.

The oil-rich state had been hoping that their weightlifters would repay their huge investment with a first ever gold medal in Athens.

But their hopes were dashed when world champion Asaad Said Saif Asaad, who as Angel Popov won the 1999 Junior World Championship for Bulgaria, bombed out of the heavyweight division on Tuesday after a mystifying performance.

Mohamed Yousef Al Mana, the president of the Qatar Weightlifting Federation, recently said that there was no question of weightlifters from Qatar taking drugs to enhance their performance.

 

UAE warns Qatar to take neighbours' demands 'seriously'

Russia warships, submarine strike IS targets in Syria

Civilians killed in Iraq suicide bomb attacks

Morocco dismantles 'IS-linked cell plotting tourist attacks'

Prime time for Ramadan on Gulf fashion calendar

UN warns Yemen cholera outbreak could infect 300,000 by September

Putin launches deep-water phase of TurkStream pipeline

Berlin warns Ankara against meddling in religious affairs

Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria

Iran’s Salehi urges West to save historic nuclear deal

Iran, allies mark Jerusalem Day with rallies

US-led Syria strikes kill 472 civilians in one month

France sets out tough new anti-terror law

Trump-Saudi ties help pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa

Egyptian fuel helps restart Gaza power station

Rights groups say Morocco protest leader 'severely beaten' during arrest

5 killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

UN experts urge Egypt to halt executions after 'flawed trials'

Qatar emir congratulates newly-appointed Saudi crown prince

Kushner hails 'productive' Palestine-Israel talks

Macron says removing Assad no longer priority in Syria

Turkey sends first aid ship to isolated ally Qatar

Iraq PM says IS admitting defeat in Mosul

Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity shortage

Saudi Arabia named after ruling dynasty

Turkey detains catering boss after army food poisoning

Israel says will unleash 'unimaginable power' in future Lebanon war

Brussels nail bomber identified as Moroccan

Saudi stock market bullish on new heir

Lebanon's Salame to be new UN Libya envoy

New Saudi heir is king's agent of change

Turkish President accused of influencing courts

Mohammed bin Salman named Saudi crown prince

Algeria leader drops Panama Papers libel suit vs Le Monde

Morocco detains three as Rif protests continue

Israel starts work on new settlements amid Trump 'peace' push

At least 10 dead in Mogadishu suicide attack

Iraq forces advance in Mosul Old City

Yemen cholera death toll passes 1,100

Iran-made drone shot down by US plane in Syria

Raqa’s own battle to liberate hometown from IS rule

Saudi, Iraq hail 'qualitative leap' in relations

French journalist killed in Mosul

Iran protests against Tillerson 'transition' comments