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.


Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Natural gas in eastern Mediterranean fuels increasing tensions

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home

Saudi crown prince says his country to seek nuclear bomb if Iran does

Arab women artists in diaspora focus on identity and loss

Tunisia’s Central Bank targets inflation but may hurt growth prospects

Libya’s health system reflects a larger humanitarian crisis

Israel blasts Gaza underground tunnel

Abu Dhabi awards France's Total stakes in oil concessions