Salimikordasiabi wins weightlifting gold

By Karl Ritter, NZ Newswire August 8, 2012, 9:38 am

Iran ruled the final event of the Olympic weightlifting competition, winning gold and silver medals in a super heavyweight battle that saw Germany's defending champion drop out after a 196-kilogram barbell crashed down on his neck.

World champion Behdad Salimikordasiabi needed just four lifts to secure the gold ahead of Iran teammate Sajjad Anoushiravani, sparking wild celebrations among scores of raucous Iranian fans in the weightlifting arena.

European champion Ruslan Albegov of Russia finished third.

Salimikordasiabi lifted 208 kilograms in the snatch portion and took 247 kilograms in his first attempt in the clean and jerk for a total of 455 kilograms.

Since no one even tried to challenge that score, the Iranian giant used his second attempt in the clean and jerk to try for a world record. He loaded the bar with 264 kilograms - the weight of a golf cart - but gave up instantly, and skipped his final lift.

The competition had an ugly moment when defending Olympic champion Matthias Steiner lost his balance trying to lift 196 kilograms - about 432 pounds - in his second lift of the snatch portion of the competition. He fell awkwardly to the platform as the barbell crashed down on him.

Medical personnel rushed up to tend to the German, who got up on his feet and waved to the crowd as he walked into the back room. He didn't come out for his third attempt.

Michael Vesper of Germany's Olympic Committee said Steiner, who abandoned the competition at that point, was not seriously injured but was taken to a hospital for checkups.

"It came to his neck so for medical reasons he is not able to continue. But he isn't hurt badly. Of course he was disappointed. He was not happy with the situation," Vesper said.

Harold Strier, a spokesman for Germany's weightlifting federation, said the German team doctor accompanied Steiner to the hospital.

"He is in a bit of pain in the back and they don't want him to get a real heavy injury and that is the reason he isn't starting again in the competition and they have to look what happened," Strier said.

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