Russia’s weightlifters have set the bar high for the London Olympics after four gold medals at last week’s world championships in Paris, the federation president said Tuesday.
The Russian team came second to China (6) in the gold medal count, with victories for Svetlana Tsarukaeva in the 63 kg category; Oksana Slivenko in the 69 kg; Nadezhda Evstyukhina in the 75 kg; and Khadhzimurat Akkaev in the 105 kg men’s division.
The results, Russia’s best since the Soviet fall in 1992, guaranteed a maximum representation of six men and four women at the London Games next year.
“Our team fulfilled their task 100 percent,” said Sergei Syrtsov, head of the Russian Powerlifting Federation. “They confirmed that they are the leaders in weightlifting.”
“The world championships aren’t the final straight, but just a stage where we showed we are Olympic medal contenders,” he added.
Evstyukhina lifted a world record 163 kg in the clean and jerk, snatching 130 kg to beat defending champion Svetlana Podobedova into silver.
Tsarukaeva, twice runner up, also set a new world mark with a snatch of 117 kg, lifting 138 kg in the clean and jerk to total 255 kg. Defending champion Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan came second with 248 kg.
Slivenko, the 2006 and 2007 champion, beat Chinese teenager Xiang Yanmei into second for her third world title.
European champion Akkaev fell just two kilos shy of the snatch record on his way to gold, lifting 198 kg.
There was disappointment, however, for defending champion Tatyana Kashirina, the favorite in the 75 kg category, who was outgunned by China’s Lulu Zhou.