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DPR Korean "dark horse" Om Yun-chol wins men's 56kg weightlifting Olympic gold


14:14, July 30, 2012

Om Yun Choi of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea celebrates during the victory ceremony of men's weightlifting 56kg contest at London 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain, on July 29, 2012. (Xinhua/Gong Lei)

LONDON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- DPR Korean Om Yun-chol won the men's 56kg weightlifting gold medal and set an Olympic record of 168kg in the men's 56kg clean and jerk at the Olympic Games on Sunday.

Om snatched 125kg and jerked 168kg for a two-lift total of 293kg for the gold medal. China's Wu Jingbiao got the silver with 289kg and Azerbaijan Valentin Hristov home the bronze in 286kg.

There were 18 athletes entering the men's 56kg category competition today. According to the relevant provisions of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), these athletes were split into two groups A and B.

Om was entered in group B with an entry total of 280kg, while Wu and Hristov entered in group A.

It seems that it may be a tactical decision by the DPR Krean team to ease Om, into the competition in a less pressured environment and set a tough target for the lifters to follow. Usually, group A contains the higher-ranked athletes, and group B competes first, with group A being the last.

Om told reporters frankly that the initiative to enter the Group B match is a tactical arrangements, in order to give the opponents pressure.

He said: "I am not to avoid Wu Jingbiao (Chinese double world champion), I just want to lift a big weight to put more pressure on the group A opponents."

Despite feeling satisfied with his results, Om didn't know if he could defeat Wu Jingbiao in group A to get the gold medal, when he finished the competition of group B in the morning.

He said: "Usually my best score is 295kg, I am glad that I can lift 293kg. "

The 20-year-old, who ranked the sixth with the total score of only 267kg in the World Championships last year, had made rapid progress after a year.

In group A competition in the afternoon, Wu Jingbiao, 22, snatched 133kg and appeared to be on track to overtake Om's total, but was unable to control the 161kg he needed in the clean and jerk.

"The problem is in us. Our coach told us before the competition there would be dark horses in the competition, but I never expected them to come from the Group B," Wu said.

He added, "When I finished my weigh-in I heard the announcer tell the result of the DPR Korean lifter and it influenced me."

"My condition today was bad. Before this I thought I could be passionate but I wasn't. Backstage I tried to make myself excited but I just couldn't."

Wu is considered a safer bet in the men's lightest category for China, which he has dominated in recent years.

"I lifted 300kg before coming here. My result today is not worthy of being worshipped," he said.

He added, "Everyone knows how much an Olympic medal means for the Chinese. I could not do my best. I feel very sorry to my country I didn't get the gold."

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