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Guadalajara, Day 7: Home gold for Mexico and victory for Iran on a great day for teenagers

Another home champion for Mexico, a first win for Iran and yet another debutant medallist for Japan were the highlights on day seven of the 2023 World Junior Championships in Guadalajara.

All six medallists on total were teenagers, and by the end of the day the number of nations on the medals table was 22 – half of the 44 who have taken part.

There were huge cheers when Mairyn Hernandez made her final attempt at 126kg to take the lead in the women’s 81kg. The 18-year-old was not sure of victory with Rahma Ahmed yet to finish, but the Egyptian failed with her final attempt and Cielito Lindo was heard again at the Weightlifting Forum, as well as the Mexican anthem.

Mairyn Hernandez (MEX)

Hernandez made 102-126-228 to secure Mexico’s third victory, level with the United States who lead the medals table with more silvers and bronzes.

It was a remarkable victory for Hernandez, who has twice won snatch gold at the World Youth Championships only to lose the lead in clean and jerk. The key moment was making her third snatch at 102kg after failing at 100kg. That was a 7kg jump from her first lift.

“I have never jumped that much before, and the only time I ever made 102 was in training, just once,” said Hernandez. Her improvement in clean and jerk, where she made 126kg, was even more remarkable.

“The most I ever made in competition was 120, and I never made 126 even in training. I did a lot of hard work at training camp, the support from my family and my coaches was important, and the crowd really lifted me,” Hernandez said. Her parents and other relatives were there to celebrate with her.

Anamjan Rustamova (TKM)

The Asian youth and junior champion Anamjan Rustamova from Turkmenistan, who has competed in senior world and continental championships, won in snatch and was second on total on 104-123-227. Third place went to Ahmed on 101-122-223, ahead of the European junior champion from Georgia, Natia Gadelia, by 3kg. Rustamova and Ahmed are both 17.

Alireza Nasiri made it 12 good lifts from 12 attempts in international weightlifting when he reversed the placings at the Asian Junior Championships in August to win here at 96kg. The 18-year-old Iranian made 166-205-371 to finish clear of the man who beat him in India three months ago, Shahzadbek Matyakubov from Turkmenistan.

“How did I do it? After losing in August I had good rest, good quality food, and I trained, trained, trained,” he said. “It worked.”

Alireza Nasiri (IRI)

Nasiri, from Shiraz, had been a gymnast for six months when he discovered weightlifting and made the switch six years ago. “Now I hope to compete in the senior Asian Championships in February,” he said.

Matyakubov, 19, won snatch gold but missed two of his lifts in making 167-200-367. He put 10kg on his Asian Juniors total while Nasiri improved by 19kg.

The men’s 96kg podium

Japanese debutant Masashi Nishikawa, 19, finished third on 167-195-362. Japan’s team of 10 in Guadalajara included eight who had never competed internationally, and five of them won medals. Japan leads the way on total medals won with 18.

The biggest surprise was the failure of Mahmoud Hosny, the 18-year-old Egyptian who won a senior World Championships bronze in clean and jerk two months ago. Hosny set a youth world record of 193kg in clean and jerk when he won the 89kg youth world title last year, and made 209kg at this weight in Riyadh in September. Today he failed at 198kg, 204kg and 206kg.

By Brian Oliver

Photos by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia