Russian weightlifter Apti Aukhadov will fight for an Olympic medal in London despite retiring from the Russian championships with a back injury, he said Sunday.
Aukhadov, the reigning European champion in the men’s 85 kilogram snatch, lifted a respectable 170 kilograms at the Russian championships in his first attempt in the snatch, before failing twice and withdrawing hurt ahead of the clean and jerk.
“Two weeks ago I strained my back lifting a small weight. I did nothing for two weeks, was on painkillers,” he said.
“I haven’t lost hope, and I really want to fight for the medals in London.”
The 85 kilogram event was won by Rinat Kireev, who finished fourth at last year’s world championships in Paris, one place ahead of Aukhadov.
Kireev lifted 176 kilograms in the snatch and 197 kilograms in the clean and jerk to win with a total result of 376 kilograms, which would have been enough for fifth at the 2008 Olympics.
Kireev said he could have lifted 210 kilograms in the clean and jerk, enough for Olympic bronze in 2008, but decided against it to avoid aggravating a minor back injury.
“If I’d lifted 210, like I was going to, with that result I could fight for the top honors at the Olympic Games. There was just no sense in breaking anything here.”
Russia did not enter the 85 kilogram event in 2008, where China’s Lu Yong beat Belarusian lifter Andrei Rybakou to the gold medal on a tie-break decided on body weight.
Russia won four silver and three bronze medals in Beijing, but the lack of golds meant the country finished eighth in the weightlifting medals table despite winning more medals than any other nation except the hosts China, who dominated with eight golds and one silver.