From Alam Zeb Safi
BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan’s rookie weightlifter Hanzala Dastgir Butt failed to live up to the billing when he finished ninth in the men’s 109 kilogramme competitions of the Commonwealth Games here at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) on Wednesday.
Hanzala, who was the youngest of the heavyweight lot, featuring 11 competitors, was expected to pull off his best and press for the medal.
The 19-year-old weightlifter from Gujranwala was never in control and finished with a poor total of 315 kilogramme.
He was the first to start, lifting 135kg in his first attempt in snatch. He then mis-lifted the 142kg where he showed some haste that unsettled his balance. However, he managed 142kg in his third attempt and came ninth at the end of the snatch session.
In clean and jerk, Hanzala also did not put in his best. After lifting 173kg in his first attempt he failed to lift 180kg in his next two attempts and so finished ninth.
It was indeed a nail-biting finish to a highly enthralling contest which was dominated by Cameroon’s Junior Periclex Ngadja Nyabeyeu who took gold with a superb effort of 361kg.
Periclex looked very confident. His snatch was not that good as he finished at the fourth spot in that session with 160kg. However, in jerk his lift of 201 was enough for him to take the gold despite missing 205kg in his third attempt when he lost balance.
Jack Hitila Opeloge of Samoa snared silver with 348kg who attracted a lot of applause from the thick crowd. Jack, who topped snatch session with 164kg, did not do well in the jerk. After taking a start with 194kg, Jack mis-lifted 200kg and 201kg in his next two attempts but still was able to settle with a silver.
India’s Lovepreet Singh got bronze with 355 kg, which was also a new national record. He remained too impressive. Finishing third in snatch with 163kg he did well in jerk, lifting 192 kg which gifted him the bronze.
Canada’s Pierre Alexander Bessette, who finished second in snatch with 163kg, failed to do well in jerk and missed the medal by a huge gape of six kilogramme as he finished with a total of 349kg.