A former circus performer won a gold medal, the home crowd cheered as a Kazakh lifter came from nowhere to take a silver, and China's Wei Deng made a sensational recovery from a poor start in an exciting women's 63 kilogram at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships.
There was just as much drama in the men's 85kg, which featured a first title of the Championships for Iran and three impressive performances by lifters aged 20 and 21 from China and Russia.
The renewal of rivalries in this weight category should make it one of the highlights at next year's IWF World Championships in Houston, Texas, and at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
After celebrating his victory the winner, Kianoush Rostami, was highly critical of the former national coach, Kouroush Bagheri, and said he had nearly quit weightlifting two years ago.
The former circus performer was Romela Begaj, from Albania.
Her father was a gymnast who passed on his skills when Begaj was very young.
She performed around the world in gymnastics, trampolining and other dynamic feats of skill, and at the age of eight she took up weightlifting.
Begaj, coached by her husband, the former boxer Gazmend Haksan, in Tirana, had won a snatch bronze in the 2011 IWF World Championships in Paris.
Here she denied Kazakhstan a gold by lifting 113kg in the snatch, edging ahead of Karina Goricheva by having the lighter bodyweight.
Winning silver was still a remarkable performance by Goricheva, 21, whose opening lift of 103kg was lower than seven of her rivals.
She moved up to 108, then 113, when the crowd had to be asked to keep the noise down by the announcer.
"They helped me with their support, but I had to try to calm them down for the lifts," said Goricheva, who tried archery, fencing and karate before taking up weightlifting.
"It's tougher competing on home territory, because you don't want to let anybody down."
Begaj, 28, became the first Albanian woman to win a World Championship gold medal in any Olympic sport - only a day after Daniel Godelli had been the first man to do it since Munich 1972 when he won the men's 77kg yesterday.
Albania's football team are doing well in the qualifying programme for Euro 2016 but, said a beaming Begaj, "Everybody is talking about weightlifting back in Albania – it's the number one sport right now.
"It's live on television and in all the newspapers."
Begaj is far better at the snatch then the clean-and-jerk, and fell away to seventh place overall.
Last year's champion Tima Turieva, from Russia, looked certain to win the overall gold when she went clear with a lift of 140kg but Deng responded with 142kg and it was enough for clean-and-jerk and overall glory.
Turieva failed with her attempt at 142kg.
She was disappointed, but said, "I can do more.
"I will be patient."
It was a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Deng.
She failed with her first two snatch lifts on 110kg and had looked beaten.
"I was very nervous before that third lift, and very happy when I made it," she said.
"After that I just relaxed."
Deng had finished second in the Asian Games six weeks ago, behind Tzu-Chi Lin, from Taipei.
Last night Lin made only two good lifts and finished with a disappointing 246kg total, 6kg behind Deng and Turieva.
In the men's event Rostami made a mess of his first lift in the clean-and-jerk.
"As the clock ticked down below 10 seconds he was still tightening his belt, and when he got the bar above his head he could not control it.
Rostami ended up with his back to the judges and still got the verdict from one of the them but two red lights signified a no-lift.
Rostami failed with his second attempt too and had to make his third to go into the lead.
He looked as if he had lost control of the 213kg above his head again, but steadied and cheekily asked the judges if it was a good lift before dropping the bar.
Even then Rostami, who had finished second behind Bulgaria's Ivan Markov in the snatch, had to wait.
Markov failed at 214kg, then the 20-year-old Russian Artem Okulov went for 218kg, which would have equalled the oldest senior world record in the book, set in 1998 by Yong Zhang of China.
Okulov failed and so, too, did the Chinese, Tao Tian, who tried to beat Zhang's world record when he went from 205kg up to 219kg in an attempt to win a medal.
He cleaned it and looked for a second as though he might make the lift, but just failed.
Okulov took bronze in the clean-and-jerk and overall.
His total of 385kg was six short of Rostami and five behind Markov, but he looks sure to improve.
So, too, does his 21-year-old fellow Russian Apti Aukhadov, who would have been on the podium had he succeeded with either of his last two attempts at 213kg.
"I really enjoyed the competition, and it will make me train even harder," Okulov said.
"I really appreciate the rivalry, and I'll see you all in Rio."
Markov, too, was keen to renew rivalry, especially with Rostami.
Rostami was outspoken against the coaching regime of Bagheri who, he complained, had been too strict.
"I nearly gave up weightlifting," he said.
"My first lift tonight was good but I don't want to say anything bad about the judges.
"But I do want to say that Kouroush was a bad national coach for me.
"Nobody liked him, there was a bad atmosphere in the team.
"In the 2011 World Championships in Paris he said to me 'Forget about the medals, you need to get your hair cut.'
"I stopped training for a while."
His enthusiasm returned when there was a change of regime, and he regained his form and confidence.
"Rostami travelled to Kazakhstan expecting not just to win, but to break that 1998 world record.
"I'm angry I didn't get it," he said.
"But I will do it."
The snatch bronze went to Andrei Rybakou of Belarus – the first time he won anything other gold, having won nine gold medals in previous IWF World Championships.
Ulugbek Alimov of Uzbekistan took the clean-and-jerk silver.
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