Yerevan, Day 6: Two more weightlifting world records for sensational Bulgarian teen Nasar
The world’s most remarkable teenage weightlifter claimed two more senior world records along with the continental 89 kilograms title on day six of the European Championships.
Karlos Nasar made five good lifts and declined the last one having already bettered his own world best in clean and jerk and claimed the total record from Italy’s Antonio Pizzolato, who withdrew after weighing in because he was not fully fit.
The 18-year-old Bulgarian made 174-221-395 and now holds 11 world records in youth, junior and senior weightlifting.
That total not only puts him top of the 89kg Olympic rankings, it would place him second in the 102kg category, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Meso Hassona of Qatar.
A large crowd turned up to cheer on Armenia’s Andranik Karapetyan, who surprised Nasar by outperforming him in the snatch but was a distant second on 178-196-374, with Marin Robu from Moldova third on 166-198-364.
Nasar bombed out in the snatch in the first Olympic qualifier, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships in Bogotá, Colombia, last December, where he came out and broke the clean and jerk world record but failed to register in the Paris rankings.
After his sensational performance here, he could simply enter, weigh in and wave to the crowd at three more qualifiers in the next year without having to lift, because he is not going to drop out of the top 10 with a 395kg total.
What will he do?
“I very much want to compete and make more records in the remaining competitions, not just weigh in,” he said.
“I really enjoyed it here in Armenia, I prepared well, good arena, nice environment – everything was good and I’m happy to perform so well here.
“I won’t have time to celebrate because I’m flying home tonight, but back in Bulgaria I will celebrate according to our customs.”
Bulgarian weightlifting has been stuck in a rut for two years of constant wrangling over the National Federation’s leadership, during which the athletes went unpaid and threatened to go on strike.
That is resolved now and Arif Majed has taken over as President.
“I’m happy that things are getting along, finally,” Nasar said.
“When people work together great things can happen.”
Nasar indicated just how great when asked about his best clean and jerk in training.
The answer was 233kg, which means we will very likely see more world records before the Olympic Games in August 2024.
Pizzolato, who set the beaten world record total of 392kg in an epic contest with Nasar in last year’s European Championships in Albania, decided to withdraw rather than risk worsening an injury.
The Italian, third in the Tokyo Olympic Games at 81kg, is without a total after the first two Olympic qualifiers but he has five more opportunities in the next year and was not 100 per cent.
He has had a long-term back injury and arrived in Armenia hoping to compete for the first time in nine months, but his pre-competition training did not go as well as expected.
“A possible serious relapse would really jeopardise the route to Paris,” said a statement from the Italian Weightlifting Federation (FIPE).
“During the last training sessions in Armenia, the technical and health staff encountered the possibility of a serious relapse after the lumbar problems already encountered at the end of 2022, the same ones that prevented him from being present at the Bogotá World Championships.”
Pizzolato said, “I’m really sorry I can’t compete to defend the title and I’m sorry for the fans but I can’t compromise my work for qualifying in Paris.
“I believe it is right to announce before the competition that I will perform the qualifying, weigh-in and presentation routine, but I will not go on the platform.”
The next qualifier open to Pizzolato is the IWF Grand Prix in Cuba in June.
Krenar Shoraj from Albania also pulled out, taking into double figures the number of nations who have withdrawn lifters after the weigh-in at Olympic qualifying events.
A buzz went around the large crowd at the Karen Demirchyan Complex when the scoreboard signalled Pizzolato’s withdrawal after lifting had started, and the buzz became a roar when Karapetyan came out and made all three snatches.
When it dawned on them that their man had no chance against Nasar in clean and jerk, the audience showed their appreciation for the new champion, who had more media attention afterwards than in any of his previous five competitions.
Both Armenia and Latvia had two medallists today.
Tatev Hakobyan was second on total in the women’s 76kg on 104-122-226, behind the clear French winner Marie Fegue.
In this non-Olympic weight category, the 31-year-old Fegue, who won Commonwealth Games gold for Cameroon before switching, made 113-140-253 to win by 27kg, a wider margin than Nasar.
Latvia’s Daniela Ivanova moved up from fifth in snatch – where Israel’s Nicole Rubanovich was third – to third on total with 96-126-222, after her team-mate Amands Mezinskis had taken clean and jerk bronze in the men’s event with 198kg.
Nico Mueller of Germany was second on 199kg.
By Brian Oliver, Inside the Games
Photos by yantsimages.com