NIGERIAN schoolgirl Augustina Nwaokolo stunned India’s Soniya Chanu to win the women’s weightlifting 48kg title yesterday, shattering home hopes of taking the first gold of the Commonwealth Games.
The 17-year-old Nwaokolo set a Commonwealth record of 175kg after a snatch lift of 77kg and clean and jerk attempt of 98kg.
Chanu took silver with compatriot Sandhya Rani winning bronze as India’s grip on the division ended after Kunjarani Devi had won 48kg gold in Manchester in 2002 before defending the title in Melbourne four years ago.
“I am the happiest person in the world, I am very proud. My next step is the Olympics in 2012 to win gold,” Nwaokolo said.
“I expected to win, I trained very hard for it. I am happy to break the records. I am used to this weight and I did in it training. I believe I could do more than that.”
After gliding through the opening stage with three confident lifts in the snatch, high school student Nwaokolo then succeeded with 94kg and 98kg in the clean and jerk before failing with 100kg.
But that still left Chanu, the Commonwealth champion, needing to lift 103kg to make up an overall deficit of nine kilos.
However, the pressure of home proved too much for the 30-year-old from Manipur who failed on both of her attempts, and despite coming into the Games with a personal best of 175kg, she had to settle for silver with a 167kg total.
Rani had a personal best of 167kg, but she finished on 165kg after failing on a final attempt of 97kg in the clean and jerk.
“There was no pressure on me and I was so happy for what I got,” Chanu said.
“It was not our day. We practised well, but today we could not do it.”
The gold medal was Nigeria’s seventh in a women’s event in Commonwealth Games history, but the first in a sport other than athletics.
“I lifted more weight than this during practice, but today I could not,” Rani said. – AFP