Tavakoli lifts heavyweight gold
Iranian weightlifter Hossein Tavakoli won Olympic gold on Monday while Bulgaria's Alan Tsagaev took silver just hours after winning a court appeal against a ban on him and his team.
Tavakoli won the men's 105 kg heavyweight division to give Iran their first gold medal of the Games.
"I hope all Iran is proud of me," he said. "It doesn't get any better than this. I can't imagine what kind of celebrations they are having in Iran."
Tsagaev's silver came after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had judged he was unfairly punished by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for the doping offences of his team mates.
He was one of the clean athletes kicked out of the Games with the rest of his squad after three Bulgarian athletes failed dope tests.
Tsagaev would have taken gold if he had succeeded with his final clean-and-jerk of 237.5 kg.
When he stepped on to the podium for the medal ceremony he kissed the Bulgarian badge on his track suit and held his silver up to the 3,000-strong crowd.
"It was very hard," he said when asked about competing so soon after the court ruling. "But we are Bulgarians and we have to be top."
Said Saif Asaad, a Bulgarian-born lifter formerly known as Angel Entchev Popov, took bronze to give the Gulf state of Qatar only the second individual Olympic medal of their history and their first in weightlifting.
Ukraine's reigning world champion Denys Gotfrid, a bronze medallist in a lower weight class in Atlanta, misjudged his entry weight in the clean-and-jerk and failed all three attempts at 230 kg.
Another potential medallist, Evgueni Chichliannikov of Russia, injured his back after his second snatch and withdrew from the competition.
Tavakoli, a 22-year-old former Asian champion, lay only fifth at the end of a hotly-contested snatch section of the competition but moved into the gold medal position with his final clean-and-jerk of 135 kg.
Tsagaev then attempted what would have been a title-winning lift of 237.5 kg and got the bar above his head before his elbows buckled and it fell crashing to the floor.
Ukranian Igor Razoryonov, twice a world champion and leader at the halfway stage of the competition, jerked only 227.5 kg and finished fourth.
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