Incheon: Margarita Yelisseyeva of Kazakhstan won the first weightlifting gold of the Asian Games in the women`s 48kg class on Saturday as fancied Korea and China failed to pull their weight.
Yelisseyeva`s combined total of 194 kilograms in the two disciplines, the snatch (88kg) and clean and jerk (106kg) was 7kg ahead of three lifters who fought out a battle to the wire for the minor medals.
In second-place was world junior champion Sri Wahyuni Agustiani of Indonesia.
But she was left to sweat, having completed all her lifts, as third-placed Mahliyo Togoeva of Uzbekistan failed with the last attempt of the competition at 108kg that would have snatched silver.
"I was very happy with silver," Agustiani told AFP. "I had given everything and couldn`t have lifted a greater weight. It was my maximum effort."
Togoevea, Agustiani and fourth-placed North Korean Paek Il-Hwa, who enjoyed a rousing reception from the South Korean fans, all registered 187kg and the places had to be decided on countback.
Half an hour earlier there had been a huge shock as China`s medal hope Tian Yuan, the 2011 world champion, exited miserably after failing on all three attempts at 102kg in the clean and jerk. She was joint third after the snatch.
South Korean favourite Im Jyoung-Hwa almost did the same in the first discipline, the snatch.
Im, fourth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, stunned the audience by failing twice at her opening weight of 78kg in the snatch.
Somehow she summoned up the will to raise the bar at the third attempt and make it through to the clean and jerk to a huge roar of relief from the home support. But the damage had been done and she finished only seventh after recording a below par 96kg for a 174kg total.