Weightlifter Fares Elbakh wins Qatar’s first Olympic gold

Elbakh set two new Games records in Tokyo as he won Qatar’s sixth Olympic medal and second in weightlifting.

Fares Elbakh of Qatar celebrates on the podium after winning the gold medal in the men's 96kg weightlifting event, at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics [Luca Bruno/AP]

Weightlifter Fares Elbakh shattered two Games records in Tokyo as he became Qatar’s first Olympic champion in history.

The 2019 world silver medallist dominated the men’s 96kg on Saturday, setting new marks for the clean and jerk (225kg) and total lift (402kg).

“I’m very honoured to have won a gold medal during these Olympics,” said Elbakh, 23.

Keydomar Vallenilla took second for Venezuela with a total 387kg despite having his last lift ruled out for dropping the bar before he got the signal to do so.

Vallenilla lifted the same total as third-place Anton Pliesnoi of Georgia but was ranked above Pliesnoi because he made his best clean and jerk lift earlier in the competition.


‘Stood up to the challenge’

Elbakh won Qatar’s sixth Olympic medal and second in weightlifting, after Saif Asaad’s 105kg bronze at Sydney 2000.

“In the clean it went well for us. In the last period we worked on the clean and jerk. We have more leeway in the clean and that’s why we needed the first or second attempt to be the winning ones especially because my opponents were very good in Squat Snatch,” Elbakh said after his win.

“That is why we had to be close in the clean and jerk so the first attempt is the gold, or even the second. Thank God it worked out for us. It was a bit of a gamble, but it was worth it. And we stood up to the challenge.”

Qatar first sent athletes to the Olympics in 1984 in Los Angeles.

The first medal came eight years later in Barcelona when track and field athlete Mohamed Suleiman took bronze in the 1,500 metres race.

Qatar will be the host of the football World Cup at the end of next year.

Source: News Agencies