Indians to the fore

KIRTI PATIL

EVERYONE has dreams of participating in the Olympics. Then, why should powerlifting, an off-shoot of weightlifting, be behind?

It doesn't, however, matter that powerlifting has so far struggled to convince the sport-watching public in general and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in particular, about the purity of this sport.

Forget drug abuse, the sport in itself raises many questions - the weights are initially carried by the loaders and placed at a certain level before the lifter raises it over his or her shoulder. It certainly does not match the virility of weightlifting.

In this backdrop, the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) was given to understand, understandably by a certain section in the IOC, that powerlifting may, at some stage, get a look in provided it streamlined, or to put it bluntly, trimmed the sport.

Hence the exercise of conducting separate championship for benchpress. Of the three powerlifting disciplines - squat, benchpress and deadlift - the second is the oldest. Squat and deadlift postures were added years after powerlifting was devised.

Today, India plays major role in the Asian region.

And, when the United Arab Emirates backed out of hosting the fourth Asian benchpress powerlifting championship, India jumped on the opportunity. It surely must have helped India score some brownie points.

Overall titles, in both men's and women's sections, came in simply as bonus for India. It is, however, another matter that all but one, of the five gold medals that India won, came in those weight categories in which there was no foreign competitor.

Ruma Paul, in the women's 90-kg category, was the exception. She won gold medal with a lift of 90 kg, 10 kg better than Jodelyn Darvin of the Philippines.

The hastily-organised championship had only six countries participating after Pakistan pulled out citing visa problems.

The noteworthy performances came from Chinese Taipei women, and from a Japanese male lifter. The three re-wrote Asian records in their respective weight categories making a mockery of their opposition.

Chou Hui Chen of Chinese Taipei set the trend, on the first day of the two-day event. She lifted 122.5 kg in the women's 67.5kg, bettering the old record by 2.5 kg. The old record (120kg) stood in the name of Chang Ching Fang, also of Chinese Taipei.

The field was so devoid of quality that the silver medallist, India's Madhuri Bhagwat, was mercifully 45 kg behind the winner. There was no third competitor in this category.

Since the gold medal was assured for Chou Hui after the first lift of 110 kg, she immediately went for 120.5 kg to break the Asian record in her second attempt. Chou Hui further bettered it by two kgs, in her third attempt.

Having entered a smaller contingent, defending champion Chinese Taipei was content bettering Asian records.

Overall title was difficult to come by as the points system, 12 for gold, 9 for silver and 8 for bronze, heavily favoured those with large contingents.

Hung Min Chu set a new Asian record in the women's 82.5kg category, half a kg better than the old record, which was held by Hsieh Chiu Hua, also of Chinese Taipei. Hung Min lifted 140.5 kg in her second lift. Her attempts to further better it fizzled out as she failed to lift 150 kg cleanly.

Japan's Minami Shigeki was the third record-setter. In the men's 110kg category, Shigeki set a new Asian record with a benchpress of 268 kg, in his fourth lift. He was only 500 gms better than the old record of Masashi Saito, also of Japan.

India won the men's title with a haul of two gold, six silver and one bronze medal.

It garnered 60 points while Japan was second with 48 points and Chinese Taipei settled for the third spot with 33 points.

Women were little better than men. Indians had the tally of three gold, five silver and two bronze medals, fetching them 63 points. Chinese Taipei finished second with 36 points while the Philippines (18) took the third position.

The results: Men:

52 kg: 1. Mohammad Amin (Ind) 122.5 kg. 56 kg: 1. Rajinder Singh (Ind) 155; 2. Vinod Kumar Patra (Ind) 145. 60 kg: 1. Nakayama Hisayuki (Jpn) 180; 2. S. Tandelu (Ind) 150; 3. M. K. Gupta (Ind) 140. 67.5 kg: 1. Watabe Makoto (Jpn) 180; 2. Jason Gomez (Phi) 100. 75 kg: 1. Kodama Daiki (Jpn) 220; 2. Inderjit Singh (Ind) 160. 82.5 kg: 1. Richie Rosades (Phi) 180; 2. Prem Bahadur (Nep) 125; 3. Gyanendra Nakarmi (Nep) 125.

90 kg: 1. Yang Cheng Ming (Tpe) 230; 2. Sanjiv Sharma (Ind) 187.5; 3. Petrunin Fedor (Kaz) 185. 110 kg: 1. Minami Shigeki (Jpn) 255 (268 in the fourth lift, AR); 2. Sandeep Gosai (Ind) 132.5. 125 kg: 1. Yang Sheng Chung (Tpe) 185; 2. Jaspreet Singh (Ind) 160. Plus 125 kg: 1. Khruchsuyov Pavel (Kaz) 212.5; 2. Tsai Ching Chung (Tpe) 210.

Women:

56 kg: 1. Sunita Punch (Ind) 65; 2. Mridula Agarwal (Ind) 50. 60 kg: 1. Iskandarova Valila (Kaz) 95; 2. Kathy Moran (Phi) 60. 67.5 kg: 1. Chou Hui Chen (Tpe) 122.5; 2. Madhuri Bhagwat (Ind) 77.5.

75 kg: 1. Geeta Dongre (Ind) 90; 2. Hirkani Dhande (Ind) 60. 82.5 kg: 1. Hung Min Chu (Tpe) 140.5 AR; 2. Deepali V. Kulkarni (Ind) 67.5.

90 kg: 1. Ruma Paul (Ind) 90; 2. Jodelyn Darvin (Phi) 80; 3. Bhanumati K. Mendon (Ind) 57.5. Plus 90 kg: 1. Cho Chen Yeh (Tpe) 170; 2. Sampa Guha (Ind) 112.5; 3. Nilima Paul (Ind) 65.

Team championship:

Men: 1. India 60 points; 2. Japan 48; 3. Chinese Taipei 33.

Women: 1. India 63; 2. Chinese Taipei 36; 3. Philippines 18.

Best lifter:

Men: Kodama Daiki (Jpn). Women: Chao Chen Yeh (Tpe).