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Oceania wins gold in thrilling final lift

18 January 2013

WEIGHTLIFTING: Karitema Otang, from the Combined Oceania team, snatched gold in thrilling fashion in the Men’s 77kg on Friday.

Otang had three attempts at lifting a good ‘Clean and Jerk’ of 135kg. He failed the first two attempts, but then in his final attempt, with the entire crowd holding their breath, he jerked the bar above his head for a clean lift.

“I blacked out for the first and second attempts, so I just really focused on the final attempt and needed to be confident,” Otang said. “I was a little nervous due to the crowd but happy I won gold.”

If Otang had failed to lift in his final attempt, he would not have finished with a combined total and not been in medal contention. Ultimately, he finished with a total of 245kg.

The contest for silver and bronze was extremely close, with only 1kg separating the New Zealander Stewart Bruerton who finished second and Australian Matthew Munns, who finished with bronze.

Bruerton finished with a total of 220kg, while Munns finished on 199kg. Munns displayed a strong performance in the ‘Snatch’ event with three clean lifts.

“I dealt with the snatch comfortably – that was the competition plan,” Munns said.

But the ‘Clean and Jerk’ event proved challenging for Munns.

“The weight was fine but my technique was a bit off.”

Munns was disappointed with his effort.

“Karitema was strong but I felt like I could’ve applied more pressure. I didn’t battle it out,” Munns said. “I have to go back to working on my technique and get some solid training.”

Both Otang and Munns have their sights on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“I’m really looking forward to winning gold in Rio,” Otang said.

“I want to train as much as I can for the next Commonwealth Games and then have a crack at Rio,” Munns said.

Fellow Australian Jakob Daniels finished fourth, with a combined total of 209kg.

Mohamed Taha

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