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September 19, 2000
Bronze for Malleshwari in liftingThe Rediff Team
Karnam Malleshwari today became the first woman to win an Olympic medal for India, and just the third individual medallist overall, when she claimed the bronze in the women's 69kg category of the weightlifting event.
"I'm very happy that I've won the first for India," she said. "I'm blessed to win the first medal. Too bad I couldn't win gold."
In the snatch, Malleswari began with a 105k lift, moved on to 107.5, and lifted 110k for her final effort.
Four lifters came and went, without going above 100. And then Erzebet Markus, staring with 105, doubled to 110 on her second lift and, having tied with the Indian lifter, upped the ante by going for, and lifting clean, a world record 112.5k to take the lead.
China's Weining Lin, the last lifter in the field of 15, raised visions of the new record being cracked, when she went for 107.5k on her first lift, and made it. She then raised to 110, and lifted clean. For her final try, she upped the weight to 112.5 in a bid to equal the Hungarian, but failed. At the end of the snatch leg, thus, Markus was a clear leader with 2.5k over her nearest rivals, while Malleshwari and Lin were tied at 112.5.
Unless one of the three messed up in the second leg, the medals were always going to be between them -- the lead over the rest of the field was too big to bridge.
The Clean and Jerk section produced a surprise, when Markus, with a world record to her name, was beaten back to second position by the Chinese girl. She went 125 and 130 in her first two lifts, then failed to hoist 137.5, ending up with an overall tally of 242.5.
Malleshwari went the same way, clearing 125 and 130 in her first two lifts before failing to clear 137.5k. Malleswari, thus, totalled 240k overall.
The surprise packet, though, was the Chinese lifter. For her very first lift, she went for 132.5 -- and cleared it. She then tried for 137.5, failed, upped the ante still further and went for 145 on her final lift, and failed again.
It didn't matter, however -- she had done enough to pip the Hungarian. Lin's total was 142.5 -- the same as that of Markus. But the Chinese girl edged the Hungarian to the gold, on the basis of lesser bodyweight.
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