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Lima, Day 4: Six days ago she couldn’t walk – now Bergros is Iceland’s first ever World Championships medallist

Kazakhstan had two winners, Syria had to settle for one, Venezuela moved to the top of the medals table and 14-year-old Sara dal Bo became Italy’s first female youth world champion.

Arguably the best performance of the penultimate day of the World Youth Championships in Lima, Peru, however – and possibly of the week – was by 17-year-old Bergros Bjornsdottir.

Six days ago she could not walk after spraining her ankle in a CrossFit competition. She arrived in Lima this week on crutches. But Bjornsdottir became Iceland’s first ever weightlifting medallist at a global championships, and was desperately close to being world champion.

Bergros Bjornsdottir (ISL)

If she had made her final attempt, which she dropped behind after getting the bar above her head, Bjornsdottir would have overtaken Sahara Ochoa from Venezuela and won the 71kg category.

She finished second on 88-110-198, having missed three of her attempts. Ochoa, who will be 17 in August, missed two in making 89-112-201. Camila Cervantes from Mexico was third on 85-112-197.

Sahara Ochoa (VEN)

Bornsdottir was doing well in France last weekend, at the European qualifier for the CrossFit Games, when she sprained her ankle.

Last Sunday I couldn’t walk,” she said. “I came here because this is my last year as a youth. I wanted to try to take the opportunity because I thought I could make the podium. After the injury, I wasn’t expecting to be ready. It’s almost a miracle that I competed.

“Weightlifting is my strong suit in CrossFit, so I don’t really focus on it much in training, barely at all. I work on other areas. For this competition I did a little bit more training to prepare my body, but nothing crazy.

“To be totally honest I like how CrossFit is compared with weightlifting – it’s more exciting, there’s more going on over three days of competition. CrossFit has my heart.

“Weightlifting, well, it’s a little bit boring,” she laughed.

There is also an array of CrossFit stars in Iceland, all of whom Bjornsdottir knows and sometimes trains with – Annie Thorisdottir, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Thuri Helgadottir, Katrin Davidsdottir and Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson. “It’s so inspirational to be around them,” said Bjornsdottir.

There are no world champion role models in weightlifting, a point highlighted by national federation president Helga Hakonardottir when she said, “This is absolutely the best result any Icelandic weightlifter has ever achieved.”

Hanin Elsayed from Egypt led at halfway but missed her last two clean and jerks and finished fifth on total. Snatch bronze medallist Iga Burda from Poland dropped to fourth after Cervantes moved up from seventh place by winning clean and jerk gold.

To complete a good day for the Nordic countries, Minni Hormavirta from Finland also took silver on total in the 76kg contest, where she was the youngest of eight A Group athletes. She could have gone down to 71kg but chose 76kg and weighed in 2kg light.

“I’m a weightlifter, I don’t do CrossFit,” she said after making 91-120-211. Hormavirta, who failed to make a total last year but expected to win a medal here, is 15 and aims to be back in Peru for next year’s World Youths, a qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games in 2026.

Ayanat Zhumagali (KAZ)

Ayanat Zhumagali, 17, won for Kazakhstan on 97-125-222. That gave her the second best women’s Sinclair score so far here, just behind the Spanish 49kg champion Lucia Gonzalez.

Sanjana from India rounded off a good week for her team by finishing third on 90-120-210. India won six medals on total and claimed a youth world record.

Suleyman Jafarov (TKM)

Kazakhstan had winners on both platforms. Nurdos Sabyr took the men’s 89kg a couple of hours before Zhumagali’s victory. Valerik Movsisyan from Armenia, the European champion who was third at this weight in last year’s World Youths, improved his best snatch by 8kg and had a 5kg lead at halfway. Sabyr then made all three clean and jerks to finish 4kg clear of Movsisyan on 148-185-333.

Nurdos Sabyr (KAZ)

Bekzod Gofirjonov from Uzbekistan was third on 141-183-324, after which  there was a 26kg gap to the rest.

Arab nations excelled in the men’s 96kg. Mohammed Alkateb from Syria won on 147-174-321, and Ali Hazim from Iraq was third on 135-177-312, ahead of the Egyptian Mahgoub Elsayed by 1kg. The man who stopped an all-Arab podium was Luka Silagadze from Georgia, who was second on 143-170-313.

Mohammed Alkateb (SYR)

Syria celebrated another ‘victory’ in the 102kg. not realising that Ahmad Shammaa had finished second. He needed 175kg to win but his coaching team called for 174. He made the lift and celebrated with the coaches but it only put him level with Suleyman Jafarov from Turkmenistan, who took gold on 143-170-313.

Shammaa made 139-174-313 and Mashal Gabr from Egypt took bronze on 140-170-310.

Sara Dal Bo (ITA)

Kazakhstan could have had a third winner but Dal Bo claimed the women’s 81kg when Saniya Ormanbayeva failed with two attempts at 119kg to overtake her. Dal Bo, who will be 15 on Monday, made 90-117-207.

Second place went to Lidysmar Aparicio from Venezuela on 94-112-206, and Ormanbayeva ended on 89-112-201.

By Brian Oliver

Photos by Bob Willingham