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Syria's First Asiad Weightlifting Gold in 24 Years
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Ahed Joughili won the men's 105kg division at 392kg by a single kilogram to end Syria's 24-year medal drought in weightlifting here on Wednesday.

Joughili is only the second Syrian to win an Asian Games weightlifting event. Syria's other Asiad gold medallist, Talal Nagar, won gold in the over 105kg event at the 1982 Asiad in New Dehli and also in the 105kg event at the 1978 Asiad in Bangkok, Thailand.

Joughili struggled in the snatch, placed fourth, 6kg behind South Korea's Kim Wha Seung, 5kg short of Bakhyt Akhemtov of Kazakhstan and eventual silver medallist Mahammad Aljiuaifri of Iraq.

Kim failed to keep pace in the clean and jerk, leaving Joughili, Aljuaifri and Akhmetov to fight for the medals.

Aljiuaifri lifted 216kg on his second attempt to move into the leading position. Joughili responded with 219kg to secure the silver but still trailled Aljiuaifri by 2kg with one lift remaining.

Joughili lifted a winning 222kg to secure the gold after Aljiuaifri failed to raise 220kg.

Akhmetov claimed the bronze medal with a total of 388kg.

"I have been exhausted and so tired in training last month, but I knew I would get this result," Joughili said.

"This competition was very strong. It doesn't just have the best of Asian but the level is truly at a world stage level."

"I was a little disappointed with the silver, but this medal is for all of the Iraqi people," Aljiuaifri said.
(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2006)

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