SPORTS


Indonesia strike double gold in Baku

Baku, May 13, AZERTAC

Indonesia dominated the opening day of weightlifting competition at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku on Saturday, as they took home four medals in total.

The southeast Asian country's haul included gold medals in both the men's -56 kg and women's -48 kg categories.

Surahmat Wijoyo claimed the first of 16 gold medals to be on offer at the Baku Weightlifting Arena over the coming days, by beating his teammate Muhamad Purkon into second by five kilograms.

Defending champion Sri Wahyuni Agustiani stormed to the first women's title on offer, before Turkey's Bediha Tunadagi prevented an Indonesian clean sweep of gold in the women's -53 kg.

The men kicked off the first session, and by the time Purkon arrived for his initial snatch attempt, only his Indonesian teammate Wijoyo was also still in the competition.

The 27-year-old was in danger of crashing out, but lifted his starting weight of 115 kg at the third attempt to put the pressure on compatriot Wijoyo.

But he nailed 116 kg to take a slender one-kilogram lead over Purkon into the clean and jerk.

Purkon and Tunisia's Amine Bouhijbha, who celebrated his eventual bronze medal with a backflip, gave the most experienced athlete in the event something to think about, but Wijoyo responded with 140 kg at the first attempt.

It came down to a head-to-head battle for gold between Wijoyo and 2013 Solidarity Games bronze medallist Purkon, but the former managed a best clean and jerk of 145 kg to win with 261 kg overall.

Indonesia continued to be head and shoulders above their opponents when the opening women's event got underway.

Agustiani, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist, was not at her best in the snatch but still built a big advantage with 80 kg at the final try.

With the exception of the 22-year-old it was a low-quality competition, as a 106-kg clean and jerk saw her finish 20 kg clear of Saziye Erdogan on 186 kg overall, while Erdogan's fellow Turk Gamze Karakol completed the podium.

Azerbaijani teenager Sabina Azimova delighted the crowd with a snatch of 75 kg near the start of the women's -53 kg, but by the interval it looked as though the battle for victory was between Tunadagi (80 kg) and Syarah Anggraini (81 kg), who was second on home soil in Palembang four years ago.

But she failed with all three clean and jerk attempts to crash out of the competition, gifting 16-year-old Azimova the bronze medal.

That left Dewi Safitri trying to chase down Tunadagi to keep Indonesia's hopes of triple gold alive, but the Turkish athlete was too good and won by five kilograms (182 kg overall) as Safitri twice failed to lift 105 kg.

The weightlifting continues on Sunday, with three more gold medals up for grabs.

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