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Commonwealth Games: Kari wins weightlifting gold for Papua New Guinea

Published on Jul 30, 2014 6:45 AM
Stephen Kukuna Kari of Papua New Guinea poses for photographs with his gold medal after the men's 94kg weightlifting final at the SECC Precinct during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

GLASGOW (AFP) - Steven Kari won gold for Papua New Guinea in the men's 94 kilogrammes weightlifting event following a controversial finale at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old lifted a total of 349kg (149 + 200) to take the gold by the narrowest of margins ahead of Australia's Simplice Ribouem.

Ribouem, 10 years Kari's senior, also lifted 349kg (153 + 196), but Kari was awarded the win courtesy of his lower bodyweight after weighing in 110g lighter.

Chandrakant Mali of India added to his country's successful weightlifting campaign after claiming the bronze with a total lift of 338kg (150 + 188).

Ribouem had led at the halfway stage following the snatch and looked on course to win a gold to add to the one he collected in the 85kg event in Delhi four years ago.

Kari put the Australian under pressure with his second attempt at the clean and jerk when he lifted 195kg to move in front.

Ribouem, who sought asylum in Australia after representing Cameroon at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, responded with an effort of 196kg to regain his advantage.

Controversy struck in Kari's final lift when he appeared to lift 200kg, only for the judges to declare it a no-lift after ruling the Papua New Guinean's elbow had touched his knee.

However, after a few minutes of deliberation, the jury of appeal reversed the decision and judged it a fair lift, much to the anger of the Australian camp. Television replies appeared to show the original decision had been correct.

Ribouem had one lift remaining to try and snatch victory away from Kari as he added a kilogram to the bar.

But the Australian never looked likely to pull it off and collapsed on his back to hand gold to Papua New Guinea - only their third since they made their Commonwealth debut in 1962.