By Nick Butler at the Moonlight Festival Garden Weightlifting Venue in Incheon

Om Yun-Chol celebrates his world record breaking victory ©AFP/Getty ImagesWith a grimace, a pause, and an almighty final heave, Om Yun-Chol broke his own clean and jerk world record in thrilling fashion to take the men's under 56 kilogram weightlifting title and win a highly significant first Asian Games gold medal here for North Korea.

Om, something of a clean and jerk specialist, has dominated the lightest male category in recent years, winning the 2012 Olympic and 2013 world titles and coming within seven kilograms of Turkish legend Halil Mutlu's 14-year-old overall world record.

After the North Korean lifted 128kg in the snatch, the first of the two lifts performed by each athlete, he was in third place, five kilograms behind the man who finished runner-up behind him at London 2012, Wu Jingbiao of China, and six behind Thach Kim Tuan of Vietnam, the 2010 Youth Olympic champion who was in the process of making an impressive senior breakthrough.

Given the calibre of the men ahead of him, an inexperienced observer of the sport would have assumed that Om had too much ground to make up, but given his pedigree it was always foolish to write him off.

So it proved.

After a routine lift of 160kg, a weight that only Thach could match, Om lifted 166kg to leave him level on a total of 294kg with his Vietnamese rival, but in the gold medal position by virtue of his lighter bodyweight.

But like all champions he was not content and, roared on by some vocal North Korean support, he made one final lift of 170kg, one kilogram more than his previous record best, to cement himself as a worthy champion, with Thach taking a valiant silver and Wu the bronze.

Om Yun-Chol beams as he is awarded gold ©AFP/Getty ImagesOm Yun-Chol beams as he is awarded gold ©AFP/Getty Images

His rivals deserve praise for contributing to a thrilling and high-level competition at the Incheon 2014 Asian Games, with both Om himself, through his beaming smile and enthusiastic celebrations, and the supporters, rubbishing the myth that North Korean athletes and fans are stoic and unemotional.

With frantic flag-waving and singing of the National Anthem accompanying the victory, acts that are both usually illegal here, it was also another great example of sport uniting warring nations, following the strong reception for North Korea at last night's Opening Ceremony in the South Korean city.

The atmosphere and full stadium was refreshing given the empty seats seen today in other venues, while the competition was also a reminder that the Asian Games is showcasing sport of the very highest level.

North Korean supporters cheer as the country wins its first gold, and on southern soil ©AFP/Getty ImagesNorth Korean supporters cheer as the country wins its first gold, and on southern soil ©AFP/Getty Images

It was also a good advertisement for weightlifting, following a similarly exciting women's under 48kg competition earlier in the day.

Gold in this event went to Margarita Yelisseyeva of Kazakhstan, the country that will host the International Weightlifting Federation World Championships in November, with a total of 194kg to defeat Sri Wahyuni Agustiani of Indonesia and Mahliyo Togoeva of Uzbekistan.

In a sport where nothing can be taken for granted, 2011 world champion and pre competition favourite Tian Yuan of China, bombed out of the competition empty-handed after failing to register a successful clean and jerk.

Om subsequently provided a superb lesson in how to thrive off the pressure of being the favourite. 

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