Kianoush Rostami, a Kurdish weightlifter from Iran. Photo: Official website of Rio Olympic Games
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kianoush Rostami, a Kurdish weightlifter from Iran, has won his country’s first gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games by beating his own previous record by one kilogram.
The 85kg weightlifter made 217kg with his final clean and jerk for a total of 396kg, beating his world record by one kilogram.
Rostami also holds the gold medal from the men’s 85kg weight class at the 2011 World Weightlifting Championship and a bronze from the 2012 Olympic games.
Rostami, who was born in the Iranian Kurdish city of Kermanshah, took the controversial step of arriving at the Rio games without a coach.
“All the time I train alone, just me in a training camp. Nobody sees me,” he was quoted as saying by Iran’s Tasnim news agency. It can make your mind go a bit crazy, but I will be here again the next time (at the 2020 Games in Tokyo) for sure."
Rostami predicted more weightlifting gold for Iran in Rio as the country has favorites in two of the remaining three men's medal events: Sohrab Moradi in the 94kg and Behdad Salimikordabiasi in the super-heavyweights.
"We will see more gold medals, and more world records for Iran," said Rostami. "Now that I have won, I'm sure others will win too."