8/23/2018 2:09:24 PM

No ordinary Choe: North Korean makes epic lift to win gold

No ordinary Choe: North Korean makes epic lift to win gold

Jakarta, Indonesia: Choe Jon Wi pulled out the greatest lift of his life to edge a titanic battle of the Koreas and secure the fourth weightlifting gold for the North in an epic 77kg final Thursday.

Moments earlier, South Korea's Kim Woo-jae had looked as if he had turned the tables on his rival from across the heavily armed Korean border when he succeeded with 187kg to give him a massive 347kg total.

Choe was back on 340kg, having needed two attempts at his opening clean and jerk of 185kg and lying 5kg adrift after the opening snatch discipline.

But the 25-year-old student smashed his lifetime best, set in coming eighth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, by 3kg as he somehow hauled 193kg above his head for victory.

"It was the biggest weight I have ever lifted, I never even did that in training," a delighted Choe told AFP.

It sparked frenzied celebrations as he set off punching the air wildly before leaping from the stage into the arms of his coach, as Woo watched in stunned silence from the warm-up area.

Thailand's Chinnawong Chatuphum had lifted 187kg and still had the final lift of the competition remaining.

He loaded up the huge 195kg that would have seen him leapfrog to pole position from bronze. But he barely got the bar to waist height before realising the game was up and settling for bronze.

It still gave him a unique place in Thai lifting history as the only man from the country to win two Asian Games medals -- he also took bronze in 2014.

It was heartbreak for Woo, who had led for the entire competition with his snatch of 160kg only to lose out by the slenderest of margins after two hours of gripping tension at the Jakarta International Expo venue.

Woo's silver was South Korea's first in weightlifting of the 2018 Asiad and their 75th in the history of the Asian Games. Only China (76) and Iran (79) have won more.

It was also only the second North-South one-two in Asian Games weightlifting history after Yang Eui Yong beat Lee Myung-Soo in the men's 56kg event in 1978.

North Korea have already matched their 2014 Asian Games record haul of four weightlifting golds following victories for O Kang Chol (men's 69kg), Ri Song Gum (women's 48kg) and Om Yun Chol (men's 56kg) earlier in the week.

They look certain to increase that tally further with powerhouses China and Kazakhstan banned and nine of the 15 gold medals still up for grabs.

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