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Maneza makes her mark

Maiya Maneza

Kazakhstan claimed a third gold medal at the London Olympics today, with Maiya Maneza winning the women’s 63kg weightlifting class.

Maneza, 26, added a 135kg clean and jerk to her 110kg snatch to set a new Olympic record of 245kg.

After gaining the winning figure, she twice failed to lift 144kg in an attempt to beat her own world record.

World champion Svetlana Tsarukaeva of Russia took silver and Canada’s Christine Girard won the bronze.

Despite ending the snatch 2kg behind, Maneza refused to panic and emerged in the final minutes of the clean and jerk category to lift the biggest weight.

Cheered on by a flag-waving contingent of Kazakh supporters in ExCeL, she never looked unduly troubled in either round and seemed to lift within herself for much of the event.

The silver medal will provide some solace to the pre-event favourite Tsarukaeva, who went out of the Beijing Games four years ago in explosive style by slapping her coach when she could not lift 107kg in the snatch.

Maneza’s success followed victories for fellow Kazakhs Alexandre Vinokourov in the men’s road race and Zulfiya Chinshanlo in the women’s 53kg weightlifting.

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