Dragneva snatches first weightlifting gold

2000-09-17 11:16

Sydney - Izabela Dragneva of Bulgaria became the first woman's weightlifting champion in Olympic history on Sunday when she won the 48kg category.

Dragneva, four times a European champion in higher weight classes, snatched 85kg and lifted 105kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 190kg.

Her Olympic gold was the first to be awarded in women's lifting, which is making its debut at the Sydney Games.

Tara Nott took silver for a fast-improving United States team with a score of 185kg.

Indonesia's Raema Lisa Rumbewas also lifted 185 kg but was relegated to bronze due to greater bodyweight.

The big disappointment of the competition was Bulgaria's Donka Mincheva who made a hash of her three attempts at the snatch and failed to qualify for the clean and jerk.

Mincheva is the world champion and four-times European champion and had been expected to take at least silver.

She is also the world record holder at clean and jerk and had been tipped to dominate the second part of the contest.

Indonesia's Sri Indriyani and Japan's Kaori Niyanagi, second and third respectively in last year's world championships, also failed to live up to expectations and finished outside the medal positions.

Dragneva cleared 80kg with her first snatch and after one failed attempt lifted 85kg with her third.

She comfortably jerked 100kg with her first attempt, lifted 105kg with her second and, with the gold medal assured, declined her third.

Brazil's Maria Jorge, the oldest weightlifter at the Olympics at 43, lifted 135kg.

Jorge, who worked as a washerwoman and in a pizzeria in southern Brazil before taking up lifting in her thirties, snatched 60kg and jerked 75kg.