Egyptian weightlifter Mohamed Ihab gave the country its first gold medal at the World Championship in 66 years, winning three golds in Anaheim, the United States on Saturday.
Ihab emerged the winner in the snatch, clean and jerk and the total results in the men’s 77kg category to make history for Egypt.
The country’s last gold medal at the World Championship was back in 1951 when the legendary Said Gouda and Ibrahim Shams triumphed in Milan in the 60kg and the 67.5kg contests respectively.
Ihab, winner of a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, lifted 165kg in the snatch and 196kg in the clean and jerk to achieve a total of 361kg.
He won two medals for the snatch and clean and jerk contests and one for the overall result.
Ihab vowed before the competition to give Egypt a long-awaited gold medal and he duly fulfilled his promise, putting on another impressive display. He wept with joy following his successful and final attempt in the clean and jerk.
Ihab started his weightlifting career when he was 18 years old, participating in the Arab weightlifting championship in 2007 in Egypt. He won three gold medals despite being the youngest weightlifter in the championship.
He then took part in the Youth World Championship in the Czech Republic, achieving fifth place in the world youth ranking.
After finishing fourth in the 2008 Olympic Games, Ihab faded away for five years, struggling with injury.
He made his return at the 2014 World Championship in Kazakhstan, in the 69kg category. He won bronze after lifting 152kg in snatch, the silver in clean and jerk with 182kg, lifting a total of 334kg to claim an overall silver.
A year later he moved one category up, at the 77kg.
He originally won the bronze medal at the 2015 World Championship, setting an Arab and African record of 201kg at clean and jerk, breaking the old mark of 197kg. He was later awarded the silver medal after North Korea’s Kim Kwang-song was banned for doping.