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Jet lag, some solitude, but still a medal!

After the successful organisation of the 2022 edition of the IWF World Youth Championships in Leon, it was expectable that Mexico could send a multi-athlete delegation to this year’s event, taking place in Durres (ALB). In the end, one single competitor was entered, Cristian Jesus Grijalva Bojorquez. He was in action today, competing in the men’s 102kg category. And despite this solitary presence, Cristian’s performance was fruitful, getting one bronze medal in the snatch, with a lift of 137kg. At home, less than one year ago, he was also third (but with 133kg), doing 161kg (fourth in C&J) and 294 (also fourth) in total. In Albania, he was slightly worse in the two-movement attempt (160kg) and finished with 297kg, also the first lifter outside the podium area.

“Honestly, I had hopes I could have three medals, but the bronze came in snatch and I am of course happy with it. But I feel I could have done more. I arrived three days ago and I still feel jet-lagged. Tonight, I haven’t slept enough, so I believe all counted for this disappointing result for me,” confesses the 16-year-old talent, with his bronze medal around his neck. With a personal best of 140-168-308 (which would have given him a silver overall in Durres), the Mexican says that being alone and so far from home was a challenging element. “Of course, I came with my coach, but it’s true it was a bit difficult to keep focused these days. Fortunately, I was able to be constantly in contact with my friends and family in Mexico. I could relax a bit and take the pressure off my shoulders. Also, my coach gave me a lot of confidence”.

Despite his relative deception, Cristian speaks with passion about the sport he chose at 10 years old, thanks to the influence of an uncle – a weightlifting coach. “Before that, I tried many sports and had many coaches, but when weightlifting came into my life, I simply loved it! To have that adrenaline which allows you to lift all this weight, and then more and more, I love that! Being able to also represent your country thanks to this sport, it’s quite encouraging for me,” he confesses. “Some years later, at around 13, when I started to train harder, and when the first results appeared, I understood that perhaps this was my future,” Cristian adds.

After an appearance in the upcoming Nationals, he hopes to represent his country, in November, at the IWF World Junior Championships. “If everything goes according to the plans, I will be able to be in Guadalajara, Mexico. It would be a great joy for me to compete for my country again at home!”

Celebrating his 17th anniversary next June 15, Cristian aims at an “Olympic medal in the future”. In the meantime, and between competitions, he normally trains twice a day, while on event mode, he switches to one daily session. With one year to go until entering university, the Mexican star is still undecided on what to choose, but believes it will be something “related to Administration”.

On his stay in Albania, Cristian admits that “everyone is very nice, attentive to our needs, and always available to help. It has been a great experience. Also, having the hotel next to the beach is quite pleasant!”

Mexico’s sole medal on this penultimate day of the event in Durres – together with the overall bronze of Poland in the same event – enlarged the number of nations in the medal chart to 30, largely more than half of the countries’ total (57) in this edition of the IWF World Youth Championships.   

By Pedro Adrega, IWF Communications