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Skakun gets weightlifting gold

Steve Keating in Athens | August 19, 2004 02:22 IST

Ukraine's Nataliya Skakun clinched the Olympic weightlifting gold medal on Wednesday, out-muscling Hanna Batsiushka of Belarus for the 63 kg women's weightlifting title.

World record holder in the clean and jerk, Skakun sealed her victory with an Olympic record lift of 135 kg in her speciality and combined it with 107.5 in the snatch for a total of 242.5.

It added the Olympic title to the world championship crown she won last year in Vancouver.

After shattering her own snatch world record of 113.5 kg with a massive lift of 115 kg, Batsiushka sat on the brink of claiming Belarus' first Olympic weightlifting gold medal.

But the 22-year-old could not match Skakun in the clean and jerk, settling for the silver with the same total of 242.5 kg. Skakun finished ahead of Batsiushka because of her lighter body weight.

With the gold medal already clinched, the Ukrainian did not appear for her final attempt.

"From the outset we came here with one purpose, for a gold medal not a world record," said Skakun, a seventh-placed finisher at the Sydney Olympics. "Like everyone else we came here for gold.

"If it had meant breaking a world record, then I would have broken a world record."

For Belarus, the disappointment of missing out on the gold was eased by winning two medals, Tatsiana Stukalava taking the bronze with 222.5 kg.

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