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Bomb-out, then a world record for teenager Nasar at weightlifting World Championships

By Brian Oliver

Karlos NASAR (BUL) missed all three of his snatch attempts but broke the 89kg clean and jerk world record by 3kg on another remarkable day at the IWF World Championships in Bogotá, Colombia.

The Olympic 96kg silver medallist Keydomar VALLENILLA (VEN) won the contest on total with a career-best 175-210-385 at this weight.

“I’m so pleased with this,” he said, clutching his gold medal. “This is the first (world title) for Venezuela.”

Vallenilla’s best clean and jerk was 10kg lower than Nasar’s, but the Bulgarian was already out of the running on total after those snatch failures.

He had prepared for competing in the world’s fifth highest capital city by training for 40 days at mid-altitude in Bulgaria but, he said, he had been badly affected by the recent death of a close friend.

Nasar, who was 18 last week, made 212kg with his first clean and jerk before failing with a junior world record attempt at 217kg.

He went for 220kg on his final attempt to take the senior world record from Antonino PIZZOLATO (ITA), who was not fit to compete here. Why so high, when 218kg would have been enough for the record?

“I have lifted 225kg in training many times, and I went all or nothing,” he said. His record-breaking lift took the clean and jerk gold ahead of LIU Huanhua (CHN) on 215kg and Brayan RODALLEGAS (COL) on 211kg.

Rodallegas was third in snatch and clean and jerk, and second overall on 170-211-381, the same total as bronze medallist Liu, who was 9kg behind in the snatch on 166kg but made all three clean and jerks.

Liu’s final effort at 215kg denied Kianoush ROSTAMI (IRI) a bronze medal on total. Rostami, who won at 85kg at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, took a silver medal in the snatch and finished fourth on total with 174-206-380.

He had failed to qualify for Tokyo because of injury and a missed entry deadline, and said before competition that he was feeling good after two months of intense training. Afterwards he said he was “pleased for my country and myself”.

Two of China’s top athletes withdrew at the last moment on the day, TIAN Tao (CHN) from the 89kg and SHI Zhiyong (CHN) from the 81kg.

Tian Tao explained on social media that it was a strategy to wait for the time when the athletes feel in their best form to make a big total, because only their best performance will count in qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Both Shi Zhiyong and Tian Tao abided by the qualifying rules by participating at the IWF World Championships, the first Paris 2024 qualifying event, by weighing in and being introduced to the audience.

That was the first of five and now they must participate in four more qualifying events, two of which are compulsory, the 2023 IWF World Championships in Saudi Arabia and the 2024 IWF World Cup in Thailand. The other two can be chosen from continental championships in 2023 and 2024, and IWF Grands Prix in Cuba and Qatar next year.

“The strategy is simple – to catch one of the five events when I am on the best form,” he said on social media. Tian Tao said he had been feeling the effects of altitude in Bogotá, and Shi Zhiyong said he had been injured.

In Shi Zhiyong’s absence in the 81kg category, China still won. LI Dayin (CHN), who said he will be going up to the Olympic weight category of 89kg, built a lead of 7kg in the snatch by making 171kg, which is 4kg below his own world record.

He made 171-201-372 to finish ahead of Rejepbay REJEPOV (TKM) on 164-202-366 and KIM Woo Jae (KOR) on 162-195-357.

It was the same finishing order in the snatch. In the clean and jerk Rejepov won gold, Li silver, and Andres CAICEDO (COL) bronze with 197kg.

Rejepov went for double glory on his final attempt, a clean and jerk world record of 209kg that would have given him victory on total. He cleaned it but could not complete the lift, and slammed the platform in frustration. “I was so close,” he said afterwards.