Almaty, Kazakhstan – For those of us who were close to the platform, the popping sound might as well have been an explosion, and in the next instant Hossein Tavakoli (Iran) collapsed on the platform in tremendous pain.
Tavakoli, the defending Olympic champion in the 105-kg category, was starting his serious training for the Athens Olympics, and had snatched 175 and 180, before missing 185 kg on his third attempt at the Asian Weightlifting Championships today.
He opened with an easy 210-kg clean and jerk, and when he went to rack 217.5 kg on his second attempt, the weight once again looked easy, but he ruptured his patella ligament on the lift.
Dr. Asghar Shahabi, who operated on Kazakhstan's Sergei Kopytov when he suffered a similar injury about ten years ago, said that he will operate on Tavakoli tomorrow, and that this injury ends Tavakoli's bid to defend his title in Athens, but it does not have to mean the end of his weightlifting career.
Even with just one clean and jerk, Tavakoli got the silver medal in the total, behind Dmitriy Frolov (Kazakhstan), who did 177.5/217.5. Saeed Salem Jaber (Qatar) coasted to all three gold medals in the 105-kg category, only taking two attempts in each lift to hit 190/230.