World Youths success for Turkey, Kazakhstan and Thailand “shows we have good future” says IWF President Jalood
When Tuana Suren (TUR) won the final women’s contest of the 2023 IWF World Youth Championships in Durres, Albania on Saturday she made sure that Turkey would finish top of the medals table.
Of the 57 nations that sent athletes to Durres, 30 had athletes on the podium. Among those who performed well were several nations that had something in common – they were either banned outright from the Tokyo Olympic Games or lost athlete quotas because of multiple doping violations.
They included table-topping Turkey, plus the nations with the best female and male individual performers, Thailand and Kazakhstan. Armenia won 15 medals, and both Egypt and Vietnam had world record breakers among their champions.
The success of these teams is good for weightlifting because it shows that they have changed their ways. Who says so? Mohammed Jalood, President of the IWF, who watched proudly in Durres.
“I am very happy to see that many countries that historically were doping are changing their culture,” he said. “We have seen them win a lot of medals here, showing that they have been creating new generations of weightlifters for three or four years. In that time they have had zero doping.”
Weightlifters in Kazakhstan and India, among others, have been suspended in the past year or two but they have been rooted out by their own National Anti-Doping Organisations. “This did not happen before, champions were not always tested,” Jalood said. “This shows that we are changing as a sport, we had problems in the past but we have a good future.”
Jalood was impressed with Turkey. “They have such a strong history in weightlifting. They have created a very good development programme and are going well.”
Talat Unlu president of the Turkish Weightlifting Federation, said there were nearly 1,000 weightlifters in Turkey aged under 15, that development had improved since the opening of the Olympic Training Centre eight years ago, that performance monitoring took place regularly and that the sport was well funded by the Turkish government.
“We expected to win plenty of medals here,” he said. “Our development is good, we expect to send full teams of men and women to Moldova in July for the European Under-15 and Youth Championships. We are doing better now, as you saw with Tuana here.”
Jalood highlighted Canada as “a special success” of the Championships after two 12-year-olds, Ivy Buzinhani Brustello and Emily Ibanez Guerrero, became the youngest ever champion and youngest ever medallist in international weightlifting. Etta Love’s gold, silver and bronze in the women’s +81kg on the final day took her nation up to eighth in the medals table.
The IWF President correctly predicted that Shams Mohamed Ahmed (EGY) would set a world record in the women’s 81kg and expects strong results from Egypt in the coming years.
Vietnam had a record breaker when K’Duong (VIE) had a sweep of world records in the men’s 55kg. That was very impressive, scoring 402 Sinclair points on the all-weights rating system – but Nikita Abdrakhmanov (KAZ) did even better. He notched 407 Sinclair points when he won the men’s 102kg by 64kg and said he could do better still.
The top Sinclair scorer among the women was Thanaporn Saetia (THA), the 64kg winner who is hoping to lift in the senior Asian Championships next month. She weighed less than 62kg and scored 274 points.
By Brian Oliver, Inside the Games