Podobedova earns Olympic weightlifting gold

Podobedova earns Olympic weightlifting gold
By Eurosport

04/08/2012 at 00:06Updated 04/08/2012 at 00:21

Svetlana Podobedova won Kazakhstan's third weightlifting gold of the London Olympics after an epic battle with Russia's Natalya Zabolotnaya in a head-to-head so close that the medals were decided by the athletes' bodyweight.

Podobedova's total of 291 kg, sealed with the last lift of the competition, put her level with Zabolotnaya but because the Kazakh weighed in with a bodyweight 220 grams lower she was awarded the gold. The 291 kg total was a new Olympic record.

The bronze medal went to Belarusian Iryna Kulesha.

Podobedova, 26, competed for Russia until 2006 according to the International Weightlifting Federation website, before re-entering international competition under the Kazakhstan flag in 2009.

Zabolotnaya was only added to the Russian team just over a week ago when her team mate Oxana Slivenko was forced to withdraw for medical reasons.

World champion Nadezda Evstyukhina of Russia made a surprise early exit after she was unable to complete a lift in the snatch section of the competition.

Athletes need to complete both a snatch and a clean and jerk lift to post a total, with the highest combined weight taking the gold.