News and Media


Guadalajara, Final Day: Record-breaking 1-2 finish for Iran – and Canada’s Love is youngest medallist

Alireza Yousefi won the men’s super-heavyweights by a wide margin, and his team-mate Taha Nemati set a youth world record in second place to complete a strong finish by Iran at the World Junior Championships in Guadalajara.

The 1-2 finish in final event of the nine-day competition took Iran’s medal haul in the last three days to two golds and three silvers on total, moving them up to fourth place in the final table. The top three were United States, Mexico and Armenia.

Wang Ling Chen from Chinese Taipei won the women’s super-heavyweights, in which Etta Love from Canada became the youngest medallist of the Championships when she took snatch bronze at the age of 16 years and three months.

Alireza Yousefi (IRI)

Yousefi, unlike his rivals, has consistently gone far beyond the 400kg mark in his competitions. He was Youth Olympic Games champion in 2018, junior world champion last year on 416kg, and posted a career best 190-246-436 when fifth at the senior Asian Championships in May.

Yousefi declined his third snatch in making 180-240-420 in his final competition as a junior. If he had not missed his second clean and jerk he would have had a shot at his own world record of 246kg. He held all three world records in the super-heavyweights at youth and junior level until Nemati took one of the youth records today.

Nemati, a 17-year-old who has won two Asian youth titles, did it with a snatch of 172kg, then went even better at 176kg. He added 21kg to his best total in making 176-205-381 despite failing with two clean and jerks.

Men’s +109kg podium

Third place went to Vladimir Macura from Slovakia, 18, who made 168-191-359, well up on the numbers he made in twice winning bronze at the European Juniors. Slovakia became the 25th nation, of 44, to win a medal in Guadalajara. Kao Jia Hui from Chinese Taipei won clean and jerk bronze with 193kg.

Five of the six women in the super-heavyweights made five of their six attempts but none of the top three improved on their career-best numbers. Winner Wang, who was ninth in the senior World Championships in September on 253kg, would have bettered that total but for missing her final attempt at 144kg.

Wang Ling Chen (TPE)

Wang made 111-141-252, ahead of the 2021 junior world champion Aisamal Sansyzbayeva from Kazakhstan on 107-143-250, and the Pan American junior champion Justino de Lima from Brazil on 105-140-245.

Love finished fourth, dropping down one place from her snatch placing, and would have been third but for missing her final attempt at 141kg. Her 106-135-241 was a 16kg improvement on her total at the World Youth Championships in Albania in March, where she was second, and 13kg up on her career best total at last year’s Pan American Juniors.

Love enjoyed the warm weather in Guadalajara because it is 31C colder back home in Saskatoon, dropping from minus 8C in the daytime to minus 14C at night. It can go far lower, but Canada’s Prairie region is benefitting from the effects of El Niño.

“For the first time in years I haven’t been training inside a circle of spaced heaters in my garage because it’s dropped to minus 55,” said Love. “Two years ago Saskatoon was the coldest place on earth, but we’re having the warm air from El Niño which means I don’t have to wear so many layers, or bring the bar indoors to the house to stop it freezing and damaging my hands.”

Etta Love (CAN)

Living more than 3,000km away from the main weightlifting hubs of Montreal and Toronto, in a country where the sport is not well funded, presents other problems. “The flights are very expensive and foreign trips can cost C$10,000 (US$7,200). I had to turn down multiple competitions this year because of the cost,” she said.

“I had to bring a chaperone to Guadalajara because of my age, so my grandmother came with me. This trip has cost my family C$6,000.” Love’s next big target will be the 2024 World Youths in Lima, Peru next May.

Love tested positive for Covid for a second time recently, on a heavy training day. She got the all-clear this time, unlike last year when she missed the World Juniors in Greece for the same reason. “It gets in my brain, testing positive twice, and it’s quite a bump in the preparation process but I’m fit and going well now,” she said.

“Things like that are difficult but they teach me to be stronger.”

By Brian Oliver

Photos by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia