Three weightlifting golds turn Dabaya's world upside down
31 July 2002
Tientcheu Dabaya from Cameroon takes gold in the 69kg catagory - by being lighter than his opponent.
Dabaya - head overs heels with joy
Cameroon’s Tientcheu Dabaya won three gold medals in the 69kg weightlifting category with a new overall Games record of 310 kg - celebrating in style.
Pakistan’s Muhammad Irfan took the overall silver medal and Stewart Cruickshank captured the bronze for England.
Irfan set the overall record before Dabaya lifted the same weight and won by virtue of being the lighter man.
In clean & jerk, it soon became clear that Dabaya and Irfan were the chief contenders for the gold medal with Irfan lifting a personal best of 170kg on his second attempt and Dabaya lifting the same with his first attempt.
Cruickshank began the clean & jerk with 160kg and progressed to 165kg on the way to adding the bronze to the silver medals he won at the Games in 1994 and again in 1998.
Cruickshank said: “I missed my first two lifts in the snatch so I went up in weight. I still managed a bronze overall and lifted my best ever total overall so I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Dabayan said afterwards: “I’m very happy with my victory. I’ve done this for my family, friends and country as well as myself.
“These lifts were not my personal bests. I did what I came here to do which was to get the medals.”
In the snatch section, Dabaya took the gold with Irfan on silver and Chitradurga Kumar of India in the bronze medal position. Dabaya and Irfan occupied the same places in clean & jerk with Hidayat Hamidon of Malaysia claiming the bronze.
Irfan commented: “The Commonwealth Games is a major event and I’m the first man from Pakistan to win weightlifting medals for 30 years. This makes me very proud, and I hope to win gold at the next Commonwealth Games in four years.”
21-year-old Dabaya and Irfan both lifted 140kg in snatch but as Dabaya had the lower body weight he was able to claim the gold. The Games record for snatch of 130kg was always under threat once the better athletes came to the podium and Cruickshank was the first to lift the figure to 132.5.
Welshman, Ray Williams, 42, who took gold in the 60kg in Edinburgh in 1986, announced before his third lift that it was the “final attempt of his life” and confirmed afterwards that he was to retire from competition to concentrate on coaching his Welsh team-mate Arfon Roberts.
Info News Service/bn/pjt