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World Records day – 2 needed for the Gold

There were four world records, and brilliant performances by Kazakh and Chinese athletes on an exciting third day of the IWF World Championships in Almaty.

The crowd at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace in Almaty roared and cheered as their home favourite, Zulfiya Chinshanlo, won two gold medals and set two world records for Kazakhstan in the women’s 53kg. In a remarkable performance Chinshanlo won by 14kg from Shu-Ching Hsu, from Taipei, who had beaten her at the Asian Games only six weeks ago.

There were two more world records in the men’s 69kg. Hui Liao of China already held the clean-and-jerk and Total best marks. He added the snatch to his collection with a lift of 166kg, beating a record that had stood since the Sydney Olympics more than 14 years ago, set by Bulgaria’s Georgi Markov.

Liao then made another sensational lift in the clean-and-jerk to better his own world best in the total, finishing on 359kg. He had missed the Asian Games to prepare for these championships and it paid off. This was his third clean sweep at the World Championships: the others were in 2009 and 2013.

Chinshanlo, 21, said, “I would like to thank the crowd, they made a big difference for me with their support. She also thanked her husband Ly Yongqing, who was in the audience. “He has supported me since we were childhood friends, always by my side, a good guy.”

In the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea in September, Hsu had set a world record total of 233kg. Here, she felt unwell during the warm-up and failed with three of her six lifts, registering 218kg. Chinshanlo had already won the clean-and-jerk and overall gold medals with two lifts to spare – and she broke the world record with both of them.

First, she lifted 133kg to better her own world best by 1kg, then she did it again to take it to 134kg. Asked afterwards if she might have lifted 136, which would also have given her a world-record total, she said, “Not for now. That was hard enough!” She believes she can do it in future, though.

Chinshanlo started feeling abdominal pain about an hour after final lift and was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.

The defending world champion Yayun Li, from China, who won all three golds in Poland last year, won all three bronzes this time. “I was pleased with my performance,” she said. “I know how strong Zulfiya is.”

In the men’s event Liao failed with his second snatch attempt, unable to keep his right arm still. But he was so confident he went up 6kg to the world-record mark and made it. His nearest challenger, 12kg behind, was the Russian Oleg Chin, who dropped away in the clean-and-jerk.

Youssef Mahmoud, a 24-year-old Egyptian whose father had been a national champion, took bronze in the snatch and silver in the clean-and-jerk and overall, ahead of PRK’s Chang Il Kwon.

After making a successful third lift to move ahead of Kwon, Mahmoud fell to the floor in agony. He was suffering from severe muscle spasms in both legs but after treatment he was able to attend the medal ceremony.

The athletes had endured days of strict dieting and hard work to bring down their weight and Liao said he was ready to celebrate with a good meal. “For five days I have barely eaten,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to some good Asian food.”