Athletes endorse Rio 2016 weightlifting venue

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Rio de Janeiro, April 12 (IANS) Athletes have given their seal of approval to Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic weightlifting venue after the completion of the sport’s official Rio 2016 test event.

Colombia was the most impressive nation during the four-day event, which also served as the South American championship, collecting six gold and four silver medals, reports Xinhua.

Ecuador was next with two gold, three silver and three bonze medals, followed by Brazil with two gold, two silver and six bronze medals.

The heavyweight (+105kg) category was won by Germany’s Almir Velagic, who lifted a total of 421kg. His task was made easier by the withdrawal of Brazil’s pre-event favorite Fernando Reis, who suffered an elbow injury during his second attempt at 200kg.

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Some 120 athletes from 13 countries competed in the event at Barra Olympic Park’s Carioca Arena 1, including competitors from the US, Germany, Panama and Thailand.

Returning from a back operation, Francisco Mosquera, clinched gold for Colombia in the -62kg category.

“For me everything was great,” Mosquera was quoted as saying by “I know there is still a bit to do, but in August everything will be fine.”

There was encouraging news, too, for Mosquera’s countryman and London 2012 silver medallist Oscar Figueroa, who is also recovering from a back operation.

Mosquera, who said he was still regaining his strength, finished fourth in the -69kg class.

“As a comeback, it was very positive. I’ m still recuperating,” he said.

“We can say that it was excellent. The arena, transport, food, accommodation. The volunteers were also very good in integrating with the technical officials,” International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) vice-president Sam Coffa said.

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Rio 2016 Venues director Gustavo Nascimento said the test event showed that the platforms upon which weightlifters compete would need to be reinforced and offer greater traction.

“We need to be certain that the solution that we adopted will work (at the Olympics) so we will be doing more tests and making a prototype.”

The weightlifting competition was Rio’s 33rd test event and the first of eight scheduled for April.

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