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Kazakhstan's Weightlifting Champion Ilyin Sets Two World Records

Kazakhstan's Ilya Ilyin posing on the podium with his gold medal after victory

On Saturday, day eight of the London Olympics, Kazakhstan's Ilya Ilyin set two new world records as he stormed to Olympic under-94kg men's weightlifting gold.

Having lifted 185 kilograms in the snatch, the Beijing 2008 champion lifted 233 kilograms in the clean and jerk – a new world record -- to secure victory with a world-best total of 418 kilograms.

Alexander Ivanov of Russia took silver with a lift of 409 kilograms. Anatoli Ciricu of Moldova and Andrey Demanov of Russia both lifted a total of 407 kilograms, but Ciricu took bronze due to his lower body-weight.

Speaking at a news conference, Ilyin said: "I love my life. I love my work. I love my training." "It's all due to my love for life, my love for people. I'm very happy to be alive," he added.

Midway through the London Games, the United States was at the top of the overall medal table with 54 medals, including 26 golds. China was in second place with 53 medals, including 25 golds, followed by Britain and Russia.

On the Olympics track, Croatia's Sandra Perkovic won the women's discus gold medal with a throw of 69.11 meters. The 22-year-old had tested positive for methylhexanamine last year and served a six-month ban. Russian Darya Pishchalnikova threw 67.56 meters for the silver.

Jessica Ennis won the heptathlon gold medal for the Olympic hosts. German Lilli Schwarzkopf was reinstated after an original disqualification to claim silver. Tatyana Chernova of Russia dropped from silver to bronze and Ludmila Yosypenko of Ukraine was bumped off the podium to fourth.

Afghan athlete Masood Azizi failed to qualify for the next round of the 100-meter men's sprint after finishing sixth in his heat. Speaking to Radio Free Afghanistan after his race, Azizi, 23, who also competed in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing in 2008, said his aim at the next Olympics was to win a medal.

On Wimbledon's Centre Court, American Serena Williams won her first Olympic tennis women's singles gold medal with a 6-0, 6-1 demolition of Russia's Maria Sharapova. Williams' win, which took just 62 minutes, was the most one-sided women's tennis final in the history of the games. Earlier Belarusian tennis player and current world number one Viktoria Azarenka claimed the bronze, with a 6-3 6-4 win over Russian Maria Kirilenko.

In the Aquatics Centre pool, Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus took a silver medal at the women's 50-meter freestyle.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, Reuters, and dpa