Bronze start of Shkermankova
Alexander Goncharov, the head coach of Belarus’ national team, speaks shyly yet with great hopes for our wonderfully strong weightlifters, who may earn a medal in the under 69kg category
Anastasia Novikova’s failure has made the head coach even more cautious in his judgments. However, friends Dina Sazonovets and Marina Shkermankova are both favourites and may yet bring home a medal for Belarus. Simultaneously, the two are dark horses, being relatively new to the sport. It is perhaps the only weight category in which Belarus enjoys sharp internal competition and this rivalry between the two friends has been helping them progress.
Before the London Games, Shkermankova, who is from Vitebsk, noted her aim to lift 117kg in the snatch and 147kg in the jerk. At the 2011 World Championship, the winner of the event, Oksana Slivenko of Russia, lifted 266kg (118+148). Dina Sazonovets has also been doing well recently, breaking national records in Belarus on the eve of the Olympic Games — in the jerk and double-event (improving upon the bronze result of the World Championship in Paris).
The snatch is proving a close call, with three athletes finishing the first exercise with the same points: 115kg. Taking into account the girls’ own body weight, Rim Jong Sim of North Korea is in the lead, followed by our Dina Sazonovets and Anna Nurmukhambetova of Kazakhstan. The clean & jerk was filled with dramatic and unexpected twists in the second round, leading Belarusian fans to await the outcome with bated breath, but Belarus finally claimed its first medal in London. Marina Shkermankova’s lifting of 256kg (113+143) took her above her teammate by 210g (since Marina’s own body weight is 210g lighter than Dina’s).