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Riyadh, Opening Ceremony: “These Championships set the bar very high!”

The 2023 edition of the IWF World Championships is officially open after a spectacular ceremony tonight at the venue of the competition. Mixing local traditions, acrobatic performances, and an amazing light show, the moment was attended by Prince Fahd Bin Jalawi Bin Abdulaziz Bin Musaed, Vice-President of the Saudi Arabia National Olympic Committee, by the IWF President Mohammed Jalood and by the Chair of the Organising Committee, the President of the Saudi Weightlifting Federation and IWF EB member Mohammed Al-Harbi. With a duration of about one hour, the ceremony highlighted the grandiose nature of these Championships, a mandatory event for all those aiming at getting their place for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris (FRA).

“Before the start of the competition, we already achieved some records in the IWF history. Firstly, the number of participating countries, 117; secondly, the number of athletes, 719; thirdly, the number of nations that will attend the IWF Congress, on September 12: 150; also, the number of ITOs, a record number of 65; finally, the duration of the championships, 14 days,”
 recalled Mr Jalood in his speech. “I am sure that given the level of participation, several World Records will be also established in terms of sports performances. Many Olympic and world champions are present in Riyadh and the competition will certainly be very tough,” the IWF President added.

“I sincerely thank all the Saudi authorities for their engagement and their support in staging this big event. This is only the start of a bright new road to success for this nation. The way these Championships are organised sets the bar very high. The future hosts will have a very difficult task…”
 concluded Mr Jalood.

Saudi Weightlifting President Al-Harbi also spoke about a 
“renaissance for the sport in the country thanks to the hosting of this so prestigious event”. Welcoming all participants in Riyadh, the OC Chair underlined that the city will “be the second home for all lifters for two weeks”. The importance of the Olympic qualification through these World Championships – it is one of the mandatory events on the path to Paris, together with the 2024 IWF World Cup – was also highlighted by Mr Al-Harbi. “This is an essential stop before Paris. I wish all the best to the competitors!”

The show then proceeded with a performance by local dancers and singers of Saudi traditional music, as well as an acrobatic show displaying difficult and spectacular lifts and throws. All choreographies and music were accompanied by light effects, giving a very special atmosphere to the entire show. The display of the nations’ participating flags was another highlight of the ceremony.

The IWF World Championships are held for the first time in Saudi Arabia, from September 4-17.

By IWF Communications

All photos by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia