Riyadh, Day 10: Shake-up in Paris rankings after world records for China’s Liao and American Reeves
Liao Guifang bettered her own world record by 5kg to build a big lead at the top of the women’s 71kg rankings for Paris 2024, winning China’s fifth title at the IWF World Championships here.
Liao, who set the total record at 268kg in her previous appearance at the Asian Championships in May, bettered it with her second clean and jerk.
She then went up again to 153kg to improve her total once more and claim the clean and jerk record set by her team-mate Zhang Wangli five years ago.
The 21-year-old finished on 120-153-273 despite failing with her first snatch, and is 12kg clear in the rankings from Angie Palacios from Ecuador, whose 117-138-255 was 6kg below her best effort in qualifying.
Liao Guifang (CHN)
Olivia Reeves from the United States also made a big move by claiming two junior world records with a superb six-from-six performance that earned her third place on total.
“I didn’t have the best preparation for these Championships and never felt, ‘This is going to be it.’
“But it was. You’ve got to make the first to get the second, make the second to get the third… and I just kept making them. It was my first six-for-six in a year and a half.”
Reeves, 20, made 111-142-253 to move 5kg ahead of team-mate Kate Vibert into fourth place in the Paris rankings behind Liao, Palacios and Loredana Toma from Romania, who weighed in here without lifting.
The Americans, like the Chinese, have team-mates going head-to-head at the top end of the women’s Olympic categories.
Olivia Reeves (USA)
“We’re cursed and we’re blessed,” said the US director of coaching Mike Gattone.
“We have two in each category fighting it out and you can see what it does. In Cuba (at the last qualifier) Kate did better and Olivia was crying, and this time it’s the other way around. They’re pushing the heck out of each other.”
“There’s no animosity, though, said Reeves, whose world records were in clean and jerk and total. “Kate and I are friends and we get along, so does the whole team.”
The biggest improver on past performance was Neama Said from Egypt, who was fourth on total on 246kg, ahead of Vibert by 2kg. That was 17kg up on her previous ranking total and moves her nine places from 14th to fifth.
Angie Palacios (ECU)
Amanda Schott from Brazil was clearly pleased with her 238kg that put her in the top 10, and another who had a good night was the Colombian Miyareth Mendoza. She did not have a total before today, and is now within 7kg of sixth-placed team-mate Mari Sanchez in the long list on 237kg.
None of the 11 B Group athletes could catch the best C Group performer Chen Wen-huei from Chinese Taipei, who is ranked 11th for Paris after today’s sessions.
For one B Group athlete, however, there was reason to celebrate. While two lifters left the platform in tears after missing all three clean and jerks, Eyglo Sturlodottir made all six attempts in posting the best numbers by an Icelandic woman in any weight category.
Sturlodottir, who combines weightlifting with studying to be a doctor, was sick after arriving and felt unwell hours before lifting.
“At weigh-in I thought ‘I’m in trouble here’, and I was so nervous I couldn’t eat anything at all. It was the worst I’ve ever been,” she said.
“But when I was warming up I started to feel better and that was the best snatch, best clean and jerk and best total in history for Iceland. It was 5kg up on my best total.
Eyglo Sturlodottir (ISL) with the President of the Icelandic Federation Helga Hakonardottir and coaches (Photo by Brian Oliver)
“I’m going to Wagamama (the Japanese restaurant chain) in the mall now because we don’t have one in Iceland. Noodle soup, chicken – it’s going to be good.”
Sturlodottir, who made 102-123-225, is performing so well that she may have to extend her studies beyond the standard six years so she can train more.
By Brian Oliver, Inside the Games
Photos by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia