Nurudinov wins Uzbekistan’s first weightlifting medal
Ruslan Nurudinov took gold in the men's 105kg by a stunning margin of 14kg, breaking the Olympic record in clean and jerk.
Having already secured top spot on the podium with his second-last clean and jerk, Nurudinov elected to take his third lift to crowd-pleasingly break the existing Olympic 105kg clean and jerk record of 236kg with a final 237kg effort and finish with a total of 431kg. His medal was Uzbekistan’s first in Olympic weightlifting.
Despite setting a new Olympic record, Nurudinov thought he could have performed even better: “I wanted much more. I wanted 243kg because I am lifting 240kg in training. I wasn't present for two years because I had two operations on my left knee. I want to thank my German doctors for being so awesome.”
The Uzbek weightlifter stands out as he smiles and pokes out his tongue during each lift. He joked: “I’ve never bitten it yet. And smiling helps me to fight stress."
Armenian teenager Simon Martirosyan put in a remarkable performance to take silver. The 19-year-old finished ahead of two men who had beaten him at the European championships in April with a career-best total of 417kg. It was Armenia's first medal in Rio. Martirosyan didn’t hold back his emotions after finishing second: "I am the happiest man in the world. My dream was to have a gold Olympic medal but I am just 19 years old and I am happy that an Olympic silver medal is mine.”
The bronze went to Kazakhstan's Alexandr Zaichikov, who would have combined for more than 416kg, had his third clean and jerk lift not been overruled for failing to fully extend his arms. The mistake dropped Zaichikov from first to third, although Nurudinov still had two lifts to come at that point.