Riyadh, Day 6: C Group teenager saves Asia’s 100% record at IWF World Championships
The Thai teenager Weeraphon Wichuma caused a sensation at the IWF World Championships by setting a junior world record and winning gold by a wide margin from the C Group in the men’s 73kg Olympic category.
It is the first time a C Group lifter has ever won gold at a major competition.
Wichuma, who won youth and junior world titles in the past two years, added his first senior success by posting 24kg more than his entry total with a five-from-six 154-195-349, more than seven hours before the A Group lifters went into action.
Weeraphon Wichuma (THA)
There were more than 60 red lights and six bombouts in the B and A Groups that followed, and as one prospective challenge after another petered out, 19-year-old Wichuma was left clear, winning by 12kg.
He watched the A session on the big screen in the warm-up room while helping his team-mate Jeeram Suttipong, who made only one good lift.
“It was so exciting, I feel so proud,” Wichuma said on the stage after being presented with his medal.
Wei Yinting from China was second despite making only two good lifts on 157-180-337, and Muhammad Ozbek from Turkey third on 147-187-334. Bak Joohyo from Korea, who snatched 143kg, won clean and jerk silver ahead of Ozbek, both on 187kg.
Wei Yinting (CHN)
Wichuma’s remarkable victory maintained Asia’s 100% winning record after eight medal events in Riyadh, and continued the success of lifters whose entry totals were not high enough for a place in the A Group.
Five medals have been won by C Group athletes, three medallists came from the B Group, and the Madagascar lifter Tojo Andriantsitohaina was 1kg away from winning the snatch bronze tonight from the D Group.
Wichuma’s previous best total was 342kg, made last time out when he was second by 2kg to Masanori Miyamoto from Japan, who was 19kg behind the Thai here.
His final effort at 195kg took the clean and jerk junior world record from Rizki Juniansyah, the Indonesian who weighed in but withdrew because of an abdominal injury.
Rizki’s team-mate Rahmat Erwin, who leads the Olympic rankings, lifts in the 81kg category, as does Olympic champion Shi Zhiyong from China, who is returning from injury.
Muhammad Ozbek (TUR)
China’s Wei was one lift and a few centimetres away from a bombout, but he rescued his final snatch right on the edge of the platform and on 157kg he looked capable of catching Wichuma. But he missed his first two clean and jerks and finished 12kg behind.
Ritvars Suharevs from Latvia made his first two snatches, taking bronze on 154kg, then missed all three clean and jerks.
Only three athletes made a total in the B Group, and arguably the happiest of them was Luis Javier Mosquera from Colombia, who had not competed for 15 months because of hand, adductor and shoulder injuries.
He failed with his first two clean and jerks but made the third for 150-175-325. “I’m happy with that because I’ve only been training for a month,” said the Tokyo 67kg silver medallist.
Mosquera will go to the Pan American Games in Chile before continuing his Paris qualifying effort in Qatar in the IWF Grand Prix II in December.
By Brian Oliver, Inside the Games
Photos by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia