Uzbek ace breaks Olympic records on his way to weightlifting gold: “I didn’t think I could get these records and this medal”

Akbar Djuraev, 21, takes home Uzbekistan’s second weightlifting gold medal at an Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Weightlifting - Men's 109kg - Group A - Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan - August 3, 2021. Akbar Djuraev of Uzbekistan in action. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Weightlifting - Men's 109kg - Group A - Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan - August 3, 2021. Akbar Djuraev of Uzbekistan in action. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

World silver medallist Akbar Djuraev was crowned the Olympic champion in the men’s 109kg weightlifting category as he posted two Olympic records to win gold in style at the Tokyo International Forum on Wednesday.

Uzbekistan’s second weightlifting gold medalist Djuraev, 21, followed in the footsteps of his country’s trailblazing Olympic champion lifter Ruslan Nurudinov who took gold in Rio in the 105kg category.

Djuraev recorded an Olympic Record total of 430kg including a snatch lift of 193kg and a clean and jerk of 237kg which was also an Olympic record.

The Uzbek ace held firm against his nearest rival in Armenian brute and world record holder Simon Martirosyan who also took silver at Rio 2016.

Newly-crowned Olympic champion Djuraev said: “I didn’t think I could get these records and this medal, so I’m very confused right now.

“It’s not only my medal, it is Uzbekistan’s medal, and I’m giving it for the 30-year anniversary of Uzbekistan’s declaration of independence.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Weightlifting - Men's 109kg - Medal Ceremony - Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan - August 3, 2021. Gold medalist Akbar Djuraev of Uzbekistan reacts. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Weightlifting - Men's 109kg - Medal Ceremony - Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan - August 3, 2021. Gold medalist Akbar Djuraev of Uzbekistan reacts. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

“I can’t believe I won the medal. It’s a medal not for me, but for my country - Uzbekistan and for my people. Also, I could realise my father’s dream, too. I’m very happy to be here today. I appreciate all my supporters, they came all the way to cheer me up, and I’m very happy for that.”

Silver medallist Simon Martirosyan of Armenia recorded an Olympic record in the snatch with a 195kg effort but his clean and jerk held him back as he posted 228kg which was nine kilograms less than the gold medallist.

Latvia’s 2016 European champion Arturs Plesnieks claimed bronze after a 410kg total which saw him produce a 180kg snatch and a 230kg clean and jerk.

Plesnieks said: “The snatch for me is better than my clean and jerk, and my trainer watches how I do this and this way we can define the weight I can handle.

“After snatch, I was not worried because I think I could do more.

“This medal means 20 years of effort. I have many medals from juniors, from world competitions but this is my first medal from the Olympics, and I’m very happy to have it.”

The 10-day Tokyo 2020 weightlifting competition will reach its conclusion on Wednesday with the men’s +109kg category as 14 powerhouse lifters will grip the Tokyo International Forum one last time and Around The Rings will be reporting on location.

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