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Weightlifting: New Olympic record for Om Yun Chol


Om Yun Chol caused a sensation this morning as he equalled the world record and set a new Olympic record in the clean and jerk element of the men's 56kg - with the North Korean weightlifter afterwards hailing late leader Kim Jong-il for inspiring his achievements.

Competing in the B group, Om - only the fifth man in history to lift triple his own body weight - is now firmly in contention for a medal despite not even lifting alongside those who are considered to be the elite A group athletes, who compete tonight.

He raised 168 kilograms - one kilo more than triple gold medallist Halil Mutlu did to win the 2000 Games in Sydney and equalled the Turkish lifter's attempt at the European Championships of 2001.

Om said: "How can any man possibly lift 168kg? I believe the great Kim Jong-il looked over me."

He added: "My parents were not here, I am here only with my coach. I believe Kim Jong-il gave me the record and all my achievements. It is all because of him."

Om had followed up a best snatch attempt of 125kg, providing him with a total of 293kg. His nearest rival was Indonesia's Jadi Setiadi (277kg).

In a closely-fought women's 53kg, Vietnam's Thi Thuy Nguyen topped the B group by the virtue of a lighter bodyweight after tying with Yu Weili, from Hong Kong, on a total of 195kg.

China's Zhou Jun, predicted to perform well, failed all three snatch attempts.

The women's 53kg A group are set to go later this afternoon.