DUBAI: Saudi weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem’s quest for a Tokyo 2020 Olympic medal proved unsuccessful despite a fine effort that saw him finish fifth in the men’s 61 kg competition on Sunday.
Taking part in Group A at Tokyo International Forum, the 25-year-old managed a score of 129 kg in the snatch category and followed that up with a successful first attempt at 159 kg in the clean and jerk.
However, his next two attempts at 166 kg proved unsuccessful, finishing the competition with a points total of 288. Fabin Li of China won gold with a snatch score of 141 and a clean and jerk world record of 172, for an unassailable total of 313, also a world record.
Eko Yuli Irawan of Indonesia won silver with a total of 302, while Igor Son of Kazakhstan took bronze with 294. Yoichi Itokazu finished just ahead of Al-Saleem in fourth with a total of 292.
Al-Saleem’s performance was watched by Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal Al Saud, president of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC), who earlier had been present to support shooter Saeed Al-Mutairi on his first day of competition at Tokyo 2020.
It was a proud moment for Al-Saleem, who was inspired to take up weightlifting by watching his brother particpate in local competitions in Dammam and soon followed in his footsteps.
He first made his mark in Saudi colors in 2016 when he won the West Asian Championship and Afro-Asian Championship, both held in Jordan.
Al-Saleem continued his run of success with another gold at the International Solidarity Championships 2020 in Uzbekistan, before claiming two silver medals at the Asian Senior Championships 2021.