Iran's Behdad Salimi competes during the men's +105kg group A weightlifting event
Iran's Behdad Salimi competes during the men's +105kg group A weightlifting event of the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Excel Centre in London. Salimi led an Iranian one-two in the men's over-105kg Olympic weightlifting competition at the ExCel Arena here on Tuesday. © Yuri Cortez - AFP
Iran's Behdad Salimi competes during the men's +105kg group A weightlifting event
BarnaChesterman, AFP
Last updated: August 7, 2012

Iran take one-two in over-105kg weightlifting

Twice world champion Behdad Salimi led an Iranian one-two in the men's over-105kg Olympic weightlifting competition at the ExCel Arena here on Tuesday.

Compatriot Sajjad Anoushiravani took the silver medal ahead of Russia's European champion Ruslan Albegov.

Salimi's winning total of 455kg was 6kg more than Anoushiravani managed with Albegov just 1kg below that.

Both the silver and bronze medallists smashed their international competition personal bests.

It completed a great day for Iran who also enjoyed success in Grec-Roman wrestling and the discus.

"I'm very happy, I worked very hard for this and had a very hard schedule," said Salimi, 22.

"It's also been a good day for Iran because we got two gold and two silver medals."

Salimi's total was well below his winning marker in last year's World Championships but he had secured the gold medal with his first clean and jerk lift of 247kg.

"The moment I lifted 247kg I realised I'd won because the Russian then tried to lift 247kg and failed," he said.

"I'm very happy because even though two world titles is good, the Olympics is completely different, it's the icing on the cake."

After that he attempted a clean and jerk world record of 264kg, trying to beat the 263kg mark set by his legendary compatriot Hossein Rezazadeh, the twice Olympic and four-time world champion, at the Sydney Games in 2000.

However, Salimi didn't even get close and abandoned any thoughts of a third lift.

"There was a lot of time between my two lifts and my body had got a bit cold so I decided not to try again," he added.

Anoushiravani, 28, who was also second to his countryman at last year's worlds, said it would be difficult to go one better.

"Salimi is very strong, I'm going to try to work very hard to beat him but I will be working with him.

"I'd have liked to be first but I'm happy with what I've got. God forbid if one day he is not able to compete, I will carry Iran's flag for him.

"But the most important thing is that we both competed and both won a medal."

The opening snatch section had provided a scare when the reigning Olympic champion Matthias Steiner of Germany dropped the bar on his shoulder.

Attempting 196kg on his second lift, having already been successful with 192kg, he buckled under the weight and dropped the bar on his shoulder before collapsing on his side with the bar resting on his thigh.

After receiving attention from medics, the Beijing champion stood up and waved to the crowd, seemingly fine, but he would take no further part in the competition, passing up his final snatch and then pulling out of the clean and jerk.

In the snatch competition Albegov matched Salimi all the way, both lifting 208kg.

Salimi knew his best in the clean and jerk was far better than the Russian's and he was due to begin that at 251kg, 16kg more than Albegov.

That was when the mind games started as Albegov initially changed his starting weight to match the Iranian's before dropping to 240kg.

He managed that but would then fail at 245kg and later 247kg.

It meant Anoushiravani, who managed 204kg in the snatch, could steal silver with a lift of 245kg in the clean and jerk.

Salimi began with a 247k lift and when his countryman failed to hoist 251kg with his third and final clean and jerk effort, he was assured of winning.

Korean Jeon Sang-Guen had briefly threatened to force his way into medal contention but an ambitious attempt at 259kg, having lifted 246kg in the clean and jerk, was beyond him and he had to settle for fourth.

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