(NST) RAIHAN Yusof and Zaira Zakaria became the first Malaysian women weightlifters to win medals in weightlifting at the Sea Games as Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim's joy in beating Vietnam's Olympic silver medallist was tempered by a bronze finish yesterday.
Zaira became Malaysia's first medallist in women's weightlifting when she took bronze in the 48kg category before Raihan bettered that achievement with a silver in the 53kg event.
In between, Amirul earned a fortuitous bronze when Vietnam's Hoang Anh Tuan failed in all three lifts of the clean and jerk in the men's 56kg category.
Raihan, who has just returned from knee and groin injuries, snatched 57kg and lifted 63kg in the clean and jerk for a 120kg total to finish three kg behind Kheuakham Ly of Laos.
"This silver medal is really unexpected as I have just recovered from injury. I was not at my best but I will use this to spur me on at the Commonwealth Games next year," said Raihan, 21.
Zaira bested her own national record in the clean and jerk with a lift of 94kg and added to the 70kg in the snatch, giving her a total of 164kg for bronze while Pramsiri Bunphitak of Thailand (194kg) and Ngo Thi Nga of Vietnam (185kg) won gold and silver respectively.
|Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim celebrates after winning bronze in the 56kg category clean and jerk.|
"Although it is bronze, I am not satisfied because I could have done better in the snatch where I used to lift around 78kg. I think my technique was not quite right," said the photogenic Zaira.
Amirul broke the national record of 146kg in the clean and jerk by lifting 147kg and snatched 118kg for a total of 265kg.
He moved up to bronze when Hoang failed three times at 152kg which allowed Indonesia's Jadi Setiadi to claim gold with a total of 274kg and Myanmar's Pyae Phyo took silver on 266kg.
"I was expecting to get a medal but I made a mistake in the snatch and was lucky to get on to the podium in the end. The Myanmar lifter was unknown to me and I struggled a bit to match him," said Amirul.
Naharudin Mahayudin and Faerul Talib will compete in the men's 63kg and 69kg category respectively today.
|Zaira Zakaria en route to winning the bronze in the 48kg clean and jerk event yesterday.|