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Iran''s Behdad Salimikordasiabi poses with his gold medal on the podium of the men''s +105kg group A weightlifting event of the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Excel Centre in London on August 7, 2012. AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GettyImages
Behdad Salimi lifts Iran to gold

22 Oct 2012
In the 16th of our 20 athlete profiles for the OCA Awards on November 8 in Macau, China, we turn the focus on Iran’s weightlifting champion from London 2012, Behdad Salimi Kordasiabi. At the relatively young age of 22, Behdad Salimi swept all before him in the men’s +105kg weightlifting category to take the gold medal at the London Olympic Games on August 7.

Salimi holds the world record in the snatch with 214kg at the 2011 World Championships in Paris but did not need to produce such heroics to claim gold in London. After lifting 208kg in the snatch, he followed up with 247kg in the clean and jerk for a winning total of 455kg.

His victory had been predicted by many experts, such has been the rapid rise of the 1.97-metre, 168-kg Iranian strongman through the Asian and World Championships. He even won gold at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou despite suffering from the effects of swine flu which caused him to collapse during one of his clean and jerk lifts.

Salimi started his weightlifting career at the age of 12 in the city of Qa’emshahr. He took up this sport because his body type was similar to that of his favourite weightlifter, Hossein Rezazadeh, and he was supported by his parents.

Commenting on the tough training in the build-up to London 2012, Salimi said: “We have had intense training sessions. Two sessions per day and six days a week, sometimes we had three sessions a day. We began training at 6.30 a.m. about one hour before having breakfast. The next session was from 10 a.m. until 12 and then from 4.30 p.m. till 8 p.m. We had hard and extreme training sessions.” All the hard work brought golden rewards at London 2012.
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