By Tom Degun

Weightlifting London_2012_test_event_ExCel_December_11_2011December 11 - The weightlifting test event at the ExCeL Arena has been hailed as a big success by the London 2012 Head of Sport Competition David Luckes following the two day competition.

The event, titled the London Prepares Weightlifting International Invitational, saw some of the world's athletes in action with women competing in the 69kg category and men in the 94kg category.

The event was designed primarily for London 2012 and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to test the field of play and Luckes said he was very pleased to see things run smoothly.

"This competition has given allowed us to test all the key factors and look closely at the Game-time deliverables and we are pleased that everything has gone very well," he said.

"The competition also gave all weightlifters and officials the chance to experience being associated within the dynamics of an Olympic environment so it was certainly a great event for everyone involved."

In the women's event Wiriya Suwannaratana of Thailand claimed gold with a lift of 240kg ahead of Yue Kang of China who lifted the same amount but was second on countback.

Ruth Kasirye of Norway took bronze with a best lift of 219kg.

In the men's competition, Intigam Zairov of Azerbijan claimed gold with a best lift of 377kg ahead of Bing Li of China who lifted 362kg and David Matam Matam of France who lifted 355kg.

There was also a superb performance from Britain as Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Peter Kirkbride (pictured) marked his comeback from an ankle injury with a total of 320kg, which meets the Olympic B-standard.

Peter Kirkbride_London_2012_test_event_ExCel_December_10_2011
Kirkbride, who missed the World Championships in France last month through his injury, lifted 135kg in the snatch and 185kg in the clean and jerk to become the fourth British athlete to meet the Olympic B-standard.

"It's pure dead brilliant," said the Kilmarnock-based athlete after his emphatic performance.

"It's great to be back in action as part of the GB team again, having missed a major championship through injury."

In the same event, 17-year-old talent Sonny Webster from Bristol broke British Under-18 and Under-17 records, and set new personal bests in snatch, clean and jerk, and the total.

He snatched 130kg, lifted 163kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 293kg.

"I'm happy to keeping chipping away at the Olympic B-standard," he said.

"Getting within 15kg being here today makes me want it so much more.

"I have improved in every competition this year, so today makes me feel it's really achievable."

Swansea's Natasha Perdue surpassed the Olympic B-standard for a second time in the 69kg category, with a snatch of 87kg, clean and jerk of 110kg.

She came close to 114kg in the clean and jerk, which would've been a personal best.

Britain's fourth competitor, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Zoe Smith, withdrew from the event as a precaution as she continues to recover from a back injury.

"This has been a valuable experience for the whole team, athletes, coaches and support staff have all learned from the event," said British Weight Lifting Performance Manager Fiona Lothian.

"This event was all about experience rather than totals coming so close to the World Championships, but it was still great to see Sonny breaking more British youth records."

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