PETALING JAYA: Muhd Azroy Hazalwafie justified his inclusion in the Podium Pro­gramme by bagging gold for Malaysia in the men’s below 56kg in the Australian Open International Weightlifting Championships.

Azroy’s combined total of 238kg saw him secure the first gold for Malaysia at the Eleiko Weightlifting Stadium in Melbourne on Friday.

The 22-year-old from Pahang, the second lifter after Olympian Hafifi Mansor to be included in the elite-only Podium Programme two weeks ago, heaved 106kg in the snatch and 132kg in the clean and jerk.

Fijian Manueli Tulo was second with a 234kg total while Nauru’s Elson Brechtefeld took the bronze with 220kg.

“This win gives me the motivation to train harder for the Commonwealth Games (in Gold Coast, Australia) next year.

“I want to be like Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim (who won three golds at the 2002 Com­mon­wealth Games in Manchester). I come from Rompin and Amirul is also from there,” said Azroy, who now aims to do well at the Aug 19-31 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

There were more cheers as Hafifi grabbed the second gold for Malaysia in the men’s below 69kg with a combined total of 307kg.

Terengganu-born Hafifi was in his element, coolly lifting 125kg in his first snatch attempt to lead the 18-man field. He followed it up with 132kg in his second lift to command a 10kg lead. He then opted out of the final attempt.

In the clean and jerk, Hafifi’s first lift of 170kg was good enough for an unassailable lead. The 26-year-old extended his lead with 175kg in his second lift and again opted not to go for the final attempt.

Samoa’s Vaip Nevo Ioane settled for the silver with a 275kg total while New Zealand’s Vester Villalon lifted 269kg for the bronze.

“It’s not my best as my national record is 316kg (which he registered at the Rio de Ja­­nei­ro Olympics last year). I need to do better to challenge for the gold at the SEA Games,” said Hafifi, who will be defending his Com­mon­wealth Games title next year.

In the men’s 62kg, Malaysia clinched a silver through Muhd Zaidi Nordin.

Zaidi, who is from the Kita Juara SEA Games programme, lifted 111kg for the snatch and 150kg in the clean and jerk for a 261kg total.

Papua New Guinea’s Morea Baru lifted 275kg to win the gold.