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Colombian Segura seeks third world title as top teenagers go for gold in Abania

The 16-year-old Colombian Ingrid Segura will be attempting to add to the six IWF World Youth Championships medals she has already won when she goes for a third straight world title in Durres, Albania next week.

In the 2023 IWF World Youth Championships, which start on Saturday (March 25) and end on April 1, Segura lifts at the same 64kg body weight category in which she won five golds and two silvers in 2021 and 2022.

Last year she made 94-117-211 to take all three golds.

Colombia finished second in the IWF World Youth Championships medals table last year in León, Mexico and has entered a strong team again, including another of last year’s winners, Lawren Estrada, at 40kg.

Athletes from Kazakhstan, whose team topped the medals table in León, have the highest entry totals in four of the male weight categories in Durres, 67kg, 73kg, 89kg and 102kg.

Based on entry totals and past performance Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt and Thailand will also have strong medal contenders in Durres.

Kazakhstan’s 73kg athlete Yerasyl Saulebekov, who won last year at 67kg, has posted an entry total of 310kg, which is 1kg more than the youth world record set last year by his team-mate Yedige Yemberdi.

Yemberdi is too old to lift in Albania as his 18th birthday is in May. To be eligible for the youth competitions, an athlete must be aged 13 to 17 at any point during the year of competition.

There will be about 270 athletes competing in Durres, more than half of them born in 2006. The youngest is Emily Ibanez Guerrero from Canada, born on December 27, 2010, which means she will be aged 12 years 84 days when the competition starts on Saturday.

Emily’s parents are both weightlifters, Abigail Guerrero and Ciro Ibanez, and have nurtured her remarkable progress. She is already capable of lifting 90-plus kilos in clean and jerk and has an Instagram following of 38,000.

Her brother Brayan became Canada’s first medallist at the World Youths last year when he finished third in snatch and total at 73kg. He lifts at 81kg in Durres

Jessica Palacios Dajome, from Ecuador, is also from an illustrious weightlifting family.

The 17-year-old is the younger sister of Neisi Palacios Dajome, who won Olympic gold in Tokyo, and the IWF World Championships medallist Angie Palacios. Her brother German, aged 20, is due to compete at the Pan American Junior Championships in Colombia in May.

Another famous name appears in Italy’s team. Claudio Scarantino, 16, who lifts at 61kg, is the younger brother of the 11-times European champion Mirco Scarantino, a double Olympian. Their father Giovanni competed at the Olympic Games in 1988, 1992 and 1996.

By Brian Oliver, Inside the Games

Yerassyl Saulebekov (KAZ)