BIRMINGHAM: After Shah Hussain Shah ended Pakistan’s medal wait, Nooh Dastagir Butt smashed the Commonwealth Games record.
On the sixth day of competition in Birmingham, the duo’s exploits ensured Pakistan got its first gold and bronze medals.
It was Nooh’s breathtaking lift that delivered the gold, the 23-year-old improving on his bronze at the previous edition of the Games in Australia’s Gold Coast four years ago.
Nooh had signalled his intent to win gold from the start of the men’s +109kg weightlifting final when he was imperious in the scratch — first lifting 170kg and then improving it to 173kg in his second attempt.
A botched attempt at 175kg didn’t matter. Nooh led the field halfway through the final, with New Zealander David Andrew Liti (170kg) second and India’s Gurdeep Singh in a tie for the third spot with Gordon Shaw at 167kg.
Nooh then obliterated the field in the clean and jerk session, twice beating marks of 218kg and 224kg by Liti, as well as a lift of 223kg by Gurdeep, by lifting 225kg in his first attempt and then a massive 232kg to finish with a total of 405kg. He bettered the record of 403kg set by Liti on the way to gold four years ago.
Liti took silver with 394kg while Gurdeep claimed bronze on 390kg.
Nooh matched Shujauddin Malik as the only weightlifters from the country to have won a Commonwealth Games gold. Malik won in 2006 in the 85kg category.
Hours earlier, judoka Shah Hussain got Pakistan off the mark on the medals table when he won bronze in the men’s -90kg category at the Coventry Stadium.
The 29-year-old Shah Hussain, the son of Pakistan’s legendary boxer Hussain Shah, overwhelmed South African Thomas-Laszlo Breyytenbach by ippon — the highest score a fighter can achieve — in their bronze medal bout.
Shah Hussain wrapped up the contest in just under three minutes with a sankanku-jime, a chokehold that encircles the opponent’s neck and one arm with the legs.
It is the second Commonwealth Games medal for Shah Hussain, who finished with a silver in the men’s -100kg competition at Glasgow in 2014.
Shah Hussain, who is based in Japan, had earlier lost his quarter-final bout against Australia’s Harrison Cassar by ippon.
However, with just six competitors in the field for the -90kg category, he got a chance for bronze against the 43rd-ranked Breyytenbach.
Breyytenbach had a bye to the semi-finals, where he lost to eventual gold medalist Jamal Petgrave of England.
Petgrave overcame Remi Feuillet of Mauritius by waza-ari — the second-highest score in judo — in the final, while Cassar picked up the other bronze medal on offer.
Elsewhere, Pakistan’s hockey team kept alive its hopes of advancing to the semi-finals from Group ‘A’ after they registered their first win of the campaign in their match when Rooman’s 55th-minute goal secured a 3-2 win over Scotland.
Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2022