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Olympics: Kazakhstan's Maneza wins women's -63kg weightlifting

01 august 2012, 00:51
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Maiya Maneza secured Kazakhstan's second gold medal of the London Olympics after patiently biding her time before producing a massive clean and jerk to win the women's under 63kg class on Tuesday, AFP reports.

Maneza, the reigning Asiad champion, recorded a combined total of 245kg, a new Olympic record, in front of a raucous sell-out crowd at the ExCel Arena.

It did not quite match the performance of teammate Zulfiya Chinshanlo, who set a world record in the clean and jerk as she powered to gold in the women's -53kg class on Sunday, but was ample reward for the central Asian country's rise to prominence in women's weightlifting, so often dominated by China.

Maneza -- who was born in Kyrgyzstan and spent her formative years in China before moving to Kazakhstan in 2007 and acquiring Kazakh citizenship -- snatched 110kg to go into the clean and jerk in second spot 2kg behind world champion Svetlana Tsarukaeva of Russia.

"I moved to China when I was little and spent 10 years there," Maneza said in Russian after the event, refusing to speak Mandarin. "But I did not train in China."

Any thoughts of the clean and jerk deciding the eventual winner were put to bed early after Tsarukaeva paid badly for two botched efforts.

The Russian bailed out with a disappointing best of just 125kg for a total of 237kg.

"Second place is definitely not first place," Tsarukaeva said. "But I suffered an injury to my meniscus (knee) that prevented from me going 100 percent all out.

"Just two days I couldn't walk and had to take painkillers to compete today," she added.

Maneza, 26, was home and dry if she nailed her first clean and jerk and the Kazakh did not disappoint, sending a large number of fans wild after she easily hoisted an Olympic record-equalling 135kg at the first time of asking.

Ever the showwoman, Maneza immediately upped the weight to 144kg, but failed to raise the barbell.

"I probably could take 144kg, 135kg was a weak result," Maneza said, adding she took Kazakh nationality because she wanted "to be part of the country".

Canada's Christine Girard went one better than her fourth place in the Beijing Olympics to claim bronze with a total of 236kg (103, 133).

"After Beijing, it made me believe that Canadian women could get a medal," she said.

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