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Kyrgyz, Kazakh Weightlifters Win Bronze Medals In Doping-Depleted Field

Karina Goricheva, right, of Kazakhstan took home the bronze in the weightlifting event at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Kyrgyzstan's Izzat Artykov and Kazakhstan's Karina Goricheva earned bronze medals in Rio Olympics men's and women's weightlifting contests, respectively, on August 9.

It was Kyrgyzstan's first medal of the 2016 games and only its fourth medal in any Olympics.

"It's great news for me and for everyone in Kyrgyzstan," Artykov said after the 69-kilogram lifting event as he sported a traditional Kyrgyz kalpak hat.

"Do you like it? I am proud to wear it," he said.

China's Shi Zhiyong took the gold medal in the event, while Turkey's Daniyar Ismayilov, who used to represent Turkmenistan, won the silver.

The weightlifting competitions were hit hard by doping bans on Russia, Bulgaria, and several Kazakhs.

Kazakhstan's Goricheva conceded she felt the pressure.

"Of course, these events happening around doping and weightlifting...we were nervous. But still, we were hoping...we would come and tell the world that we are clean and honest," she said.

Defending champion Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan missed the Olympics after failing a drug test.

The International Weightlifting Federation had threatened to impose a total ban on Kazakhstan and Belarus, but failed because various doping cases were not processed in time for the Olympics.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP