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Weightlifter Nurudinov, The 'Pride Of Uzbekistan,' Wins Gold

Weightlifter Ruslan Nurudinov, dubbed the "Pride of Uzbekistan," won gold in the men's 105-kilogram division at the Rio Olympics, delivering the first medal of any kind in weightlifting for Uzbekistan.

Nurudinov, 24, raised a combined total of 431 kilograms above his head on August 15 to win with a huge lead of 14 kilograms over silver medallist Simon Martirosyan of Armenia.

Kazakhstan's Alexandr Zaichikov, who served a doping ban from 2013 to 2015, claimed bronze with 416 kilos.

Nurudinov stuck his tongue out and shouted with joy after his final lift, then sank to his knees with tears in his eyes. Afterwards, he ran a lap around the platform waving an Uzbek flag as the crowd stood and cheered.

World-record holder Ilya Ilyin of Kazakhstan had been considered the favorite for gold, but he missed the Olympics after failing doping retests of samples he gave at the 2008 and 2012 games.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa

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