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Om wins gold and thanks Great Leader
By Drew Williams
08:37 AEST Mon Jul 30 2012

Om Yun Chol claimed Olympic gold in sensational style after double world champion Wu Jingbiao failed to make his last lift in a thrilling finale to weightlifting's 56kg category at the London Games.

Amazingly, Om, from North Korea, triumphed from the morning's B group - supposedly for second-tier lifters - and was present in the stands to watch China's Wu fall agonisingly short.

Om, only the fifth man in history to lift triple his own body weight, put in a sensational performance as he equalled the world record and set a new Olympic best in the clean and jerk element (168kg).

His overall total of 293kg was four kilos more than managed tonight by Wu (289kg), who had to settle for silver, with fellow A group lifter Valentin Hristov, 18, claiming bronze - a first-ever weightlifting Olympic medal for Azerbaijan.

Om's victory is even more of a surprise considering he only managed sixth place in November's world championships - won by Wu - and has added 26kg to his total in the space of eight months.

Asked how he did this, Om replied: "There are no secrets. The reason I'm able to get the gold medal at this Olympics is due to the warm love and consideration of general Kim Jong-il (North Korea's late leader) and comrade Kim Jong-un. And because of them I was able to get great strength today."

Earlier in the day, Om added: "How can any man possibly lift 168kg? I believe the great Kim Jong-il looked over me."

Om insisted he and his coach chose to be in the B group looking to record a big total and make his rivals nervous, he certainly did that as he became the first person in the history of Olympic weightlifting to win gold from the second group.

Wu was naturally disappointed and, having lifted alongside Om in the build-up to the Games, did not foresee the night's setback.

The Chinese lifter said: "I'm not very satisfied with the result. Of course I did not expect the athlete from North Korea would have such a good result.

"I'm prepared there might be a dark horse coming out but I didn't expect it to come from Group B."

Earlier, Kazakhstan's Zulfiya Chinshanlo won gold in the women's 53kg, setting new Olympic and world records in the process.

With organising committee chairman Lord Coe watching on, Chinshanlo lifted 131kg in the clean and jerk - a new Olympic and world best - to set a total of 226kg - another Olympic record.

Hsu Shu-Ching, from Chinese Taipei, edged silver ahead of Moldova's Cristina Iovu by the slimmest of margins, with her lighter bodyweight separating the pair after they tied with a total of 219kg.

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