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Interviews

Get to know… Loredana Elena Toma

Name:  Loredana Elena Toma DOB: 10/05/1995 Nationality: Romanian Weight category: 64kg Medal record: 9 gold medals European championship, 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal World Championship Senior Personal Bests: Snatch: 111kg Clean and Jerk: 131kg Total: 239kg Loredana Elena Toma celebrating in Ashgabat. Career Snatch or clean and jerk? - Snatch What do you like to listen to when training?– Hip Hop How many hours a week do you spend in the gym?- Depends on the training period, up to 25-30 hours week What's your favourite aspect of training? - The technique aspect of the competitive exercises Which aspect of training do you hate the most? – The jerk If there was one thing you could improve about your technique, what would it be? – The jerk technique What is your most memorable lift? – 110kg snatch in the World Championships in Turkmenistan What achievements will allow you to retire happy? – Olympic Medal Knowing what you know now, what one thing would you change in your first training routines? – I believe I wouldn’t change anything Who is the greatest weightlifter of all time? – Nicu Vlad What is the most important thing needed to be an Olympic weightlifter? – Strong mind   Loredana Elena Toma's clean & jerk in Ashgabat.   Personal Describe yourself in 3 words – Determination, strength & focus What other sports do you like to play? – Ping Pong What is your favourite meal?– BBQ Ribs/ Cake If you could only eat one type of one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be? – Romanian cuisine Describe your perfect day off – Eating in a good restaurant Which person, alive or dead, would you like to have a conversation with? – Deng Wei Name one skill you would like to learn – To swim Where is the one place you would like to visit? – Indonesia What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? – Never give up on your dream   Loredana will be taking over IWFs Instagram on Thursday 16 May, make sure you tune in to see what this weightlifting star gets up to on a daily basis!  

Get to know… Hidilyn Diaz

Name: Hidilyn Diaz D.O.B: 20 February 1991 Nationality: Filipino Bodyweight Category: 55kg Major Medals (Total): 13 Personal Bests: Snatch: 103kg Clean and Jerk: 123kg Total: 226kg Hidilyn Diaz winning silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics -- CAREER 1. Snatch or clean & jerk? Snatch   2. What do you like to listen to when training? Pop music   3. How many hours a week do you spend in the gym? 9 sessions a week in Weightlifting and 3 sessions jogging and other stuff.   4. What’s your favourite aspect of training? When I’m crying like crazy because I'm in so so much pain and I can’t do anything but rest and accept that day is not my day.   5. Which aspect of training do you hate the most? Hate the process. Love and hate actually, when I have to train even though I’m sore.   6. If there was one thing you could improve about your technique, what would it be? I need to improve my strength and I want to muscle memory my technique.   7. What is your most memorable lift? The most memorable lift was the winning moment in Olympics. Wooh! With all the pain and challenges I was able to survive.   8. What achievements will allow you to retire happy? I will retire happy if I win a Gold medal in Olympics.   9. Knowing what you know now, what one thing would you change in your first training routines? I need to change my mindset. I need to believe that I can do it. I need to convince myself that I love what I’m doing.   10. Who is the greatest weightlifter of all time? For me, Idolize Eko Irawan. When I was young he was already a champion and he was able to maintain his status. That amazed me. How was he able to do it?!   11. What is the most important thing needed to be an Olympic weightlifter? What makes me different from other athletes is my attitude towards training. I will give everything to what I’m doing. I think all Olympic weightlifters are disciplined, determined and have a dreams and even when they fail they still get up and keep fighting for their dream. Hidilyn Diaz at the 2017 IWF World Championships -- PERSONAL   1. Describe yourself in 3 words. Weightlifting defines who I am. (Sorry not three words)   2. What other sports do you like to play? I didn’t play other sports when I was young but now I've learnt to appreciate swimming and cycling.   3. What is your favourite meal? I love food, so everything is my favourite!   4. If you could only eat one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be? I don’t want only one cuisine, I want a buffet where I can try everything. I will always choose Filipino cuisine. Yummy!   5. Describe your perfect day off. The perfect day is a productive day, where I move and do the things I need to do.   6. Which person, dead or alive, would you like to have a conversation with? I want to talk to my Lola, who died before 2016. I miss her and I want to hug her.   7. Name one skill you would like to learn. I want to learn how to be an Interior Designer.   8. Which is the one place you would like to visit? New Zealand   9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? God is the best direction in life. Lean on Him. Seek him on every decision you make.   See Hidilyn's results from the 2018 World Championships in Ashgabat here.  Follow IWF: Facebook Instagram Twitter

Weightlifters’ New Year’s Resolutions

We asked professional weightlifters from around the world what their 2019 New Year’s resolutions were. Here's what they said... [caption id="attachment_25735" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Mohamed Ehab (EGY) in Ashgabat 2018[/caption]   Mohamed Ehab (EGY), 81kg  "Achieve new world records and be the best weightlifter in the world."    Christine Girard (CAN), retired  "Get more involved in the anti-doping movement both domestically and internationally."    Jessica Lucero (USA), 59kg  "Go 6 for 6 in an international event and work on more consistency in my technique."    Rebeka Koha (LVA), 59kg  "When every year comes, I aim to improve my results. I want to do everything at the same level as 2018 or better and earn my way into the Olympics."    Ianne Ernesto Vergara Guinares (NZ), retired  "Grow weightlifting in the Netherlands."   [caption id="attachment_25737" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Fernando Reis (BRA)[/caption] Fernando Reis (BRA), +109kg  "Recover from my knee surgery for the first part of the year, then medal at the 2019 World Championships."   Mike Cerbus (USA), retired  "Continue to teach the Olympic lifts to as many people as possible."   Sarah Davies (GBR), 71kg  "Win medals at the European Senior Championships and continue to improve my rankings for Olympic qualification."   Anais Michel (FRA), 49kg  "Lift 82kg Snatch and 102 C&J at the next Euro or World Championship."    Yoichi Itokazu (JPN), 61kg  "Lift 300kg total."   Berny Bernardin (FRA), 69kg   "Have my wife and son join me in Paris, win the European Championships, podium at the Worlds and achieve my PRs: 147kg snatch and 182kg C&J."    Luz Acosta (MEX), retired   "Encourage boys and girls to start training into the sport, become closer with the IWF to start growing the sport in Mexico and improve the classification of national selection for a fair process in Mexico."    [caption id="attachment_25736" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Mattie Rogers (USA)[/caption] Mattie Rogers (USA), 71kg  "Train SMART and give my absolute best every day."   Hidilyn Diaz (PHI), 55kg  "Lift 100 Snatch and 120 C&J in my next competition."    Adam Beytin (USA),  77kg (old bodyweight category)  "Fully heal my back pain and surpass my old competition bests."   Rachelle Bazinet (CAN), 55kg  "Break the Canadian Snatch record at 55kg. Work on my mindset and listen closely to what my body needs to limit injuries."   Rosane Reis (BRA), 55kg  "Work on my technique."   Arkadiusz Michalski (POL), 109kg   "Get a Personal Best, especially in Snatch. I must correct my technique and build strength."     Carolina Valencia (MEX), 49kg  "Correct my technique in the Clean and Jerk and to arrive with good points for 2019 Pan-American games and get a gold medal for my country. Give a good competition at the IWF World Championships and lift 6x6."   Jared Fleming (USA), 94kg (old bodyweight category)  "Snatch and C&J what I’m capable of. Enjoy every training session and enjoy competing again."   Emily Godley (GBR), 69kg (old bodyweight category)  "Try and keep as healthy as possible and to keep my body in one piece throughout training and competitions in 2019."   Joanna Lochowska (POL), 55kg  "Improve my personal records in the 55kg category and exceed my limit of 200kg in total."   Loredana Toma (ROU), 64kg  "Get the necessary results for Tokyo qualification, focus on World Championships, European Championships and 2 QUP. My initial goal is 112/133, but I will adjust if necessary."   Jenny Arthur (USA), 82kg  "Win a World Championship. Snatch 115+ and Clean and Jerk 145+."   [caption id="attachment_25738" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Mart Seim (EST)[/caption] Mart Seim (EST), +109kg  "Get good PRs in every main exercise and get rid of my back injury and remain injury free; by doing these I hope to win a medal again at Worlds."   Gaelle Ketchanke (FRA), 76kg  "Work even more to improve my technique and performances to get back to my best level. Win the European Championships, stay in the top 8 in the World and qualify directly for Tokyo."   Sopita Tanasan (THA), 49kg  "Do my best in all competitions."   Chad Vaughn (USA), retired  "Get back onto the competition platform a little more (Masters level). Working to go to US National Masters and then potential Worlds. Trying out 1 or 2 new weight classes, as it’s been a long time since I competed at anything other than 77kg."   Jessien Bradley (USA), 69kg (old bodyweight category)  "Be intentional with every single training session, focus on every single lift and recovery."   Mönkhjantsangiin Ankhtsetseg (MNG), 69kg (old bodyweight category)  "Compete and get a medal at the 2019 IWF World Championships."     You can preview all the weightlifting events coming to you in 2019 here.    Follow IWF: Facebook Instagram Twitter

Get to know… Rebeka Koha

Name: Rebeka Koha D.O.B: 19 May 1998 Nationality: Latvian Bodyweight Category: 59kg Major Medals (Total): 18 (youth, junior and senior) Personal Bests: Snatch: 103kg Clean and Jerk: 124kg Total: 227kg [caption id="attachment_25633" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Rebeka Koha at the 2018 IWF World Championships[/caption] -- CAREER 1. Snatch or clean & jerk? Clean & Jerk.   2. What do you like to listen to when training? I don’t listen to music when I’m in training.   3. How many hours a week do you spend in the gym? 18 hours.   4. What’s your favourite aspect of training? My favourite aspect of training is when my coach explains clean and jerk techniques to me.   5. Which aspect of training do you hate the most? Learning snatch technique!   6. If there was one thing you could improve about your technique, what would it be? I would improve my clean technique.   7. What is your most memorable lift? My 120kg clean & jerk lift at last year’s Junior World Championships. Because of that lift, I won my first world champion title and it looked so awesome - two 25kg plates on each side of the barbell!   8. What achievements will allow you to retire happy? If I said all of them, I would be lying. Sometimes I know that I did less than I could, but I’m grateful for these failures, because that’s how I get to the podium’s highest step. I hope that I have learned from the failures and now will be only the best.   9. Knowing what you know now, what one thing would you change in your first training routines? Actually, I would take something from my first training routines and bring it back. Now I’m lazier than before, because I’m always tired of the hard work we do. At the start I was more hard working because it was only the beginning. Now that I know how hard it is, it’s harder for me to withstand all of this work.   10. Who is the greatest weightlifter of all time? I will not say that there is one who is better than another. In every timeline there are athletes who are at the top: Yury Zakharevich, Ronny Weller, Halil Mutlu, “The Pocket Hercules”, Pyrros Dimas, Viktor Scerbatih, Lasha Talakhadze and many others, but with time they will change. In my opinion there is not one best, there are many.   11. What is the most important thing needed to be an Olympic weightlifter? Be brave and believe in yourself. [caption id="attachment_25634" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Rebeka at the 2018 Junior World Weightlifting Championships[/caption] -- PERSONAL   1. Describe yourself in 3 words. Strong. Funny. Brave.   2. What other sports do you like to play? Basketball, tennis and boxing.   3. What is your favourite meal? Beef fillet.   4. If you could only eat one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be? European cuisine.   5. Describe your perfect day off. I would like to sleep for as long as I want and then time with my family and friends!   6. Which person, dead or alive, would you like to have a conversation with? Conor McGregor.   7. Name one skill you would like to learn. I would like to learn to juggle.   8. Which is the one place you would like to visit? Hawaii   9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Don’t listen to other opinions and do what you want to do. If you decide to do something - do it, because we should all live our lives how WE want to not how OTHERS want us to. See Rebeka's results from the 2018 World Championships in Ashgabat here.  Follow IWF: Facebook Instagram Twitter

Get to know… Gaëlle Nayo-Ketchanke

Name: Gaëlle Nayo-Ketchanke D.O.B.: 20 April 1988 Nationality: French Bodyweight category: 75kg Major medals (Total): 2015 European Weightlifting Championships (Tblisi, Georgia) - Silver 2016 European Weightlifting Championships (Førde, Norway) - Silver 2017 IWF World Championships (Anaheim, USA) - Bronze 2018 European Weightlifting Championships (Bucharest, Romania) - Silver 2018 XVIII Mediterranean Games (Tarragona, Spain) - Silver Personal Bests:  Snatch: 111kg Clean and Jerk: 137kg Total: 248kg -- BUSINESS   1 Snatch or clean & jerk? Clean & jerk.   2. What do you like to listen to when training?  Radio for background music.   3. How many hours a week do you spend in the gym?  When I'm training with the national team it's 30 hours per week; otherwise, I have to balance home and work so it's about 20 hours per week.   4. What's your favourite aspect of training?  All the preparation in general, but especially working hard and digging deep - I constantly challenge and push myself to the limit.   5. Which aspect of training do you hate the most?  Working on my weak points!   6. If there was one thing you could improve about your technique, what would it be?  Definitely the snatch, even though I improved a lot early on in my career.   7. What is your most memorable lift? Without a doubt, the 2015 European Championships where I broke all my records. It was a perfect day and I really enjoyed competing against my rivals and ultimately claiming second place. Also, my Olympic qualification during the 2016 European Championships where - despite my injuries - I managed to get back to a fairly high standard with the support of my club coach and partner. It was pretty intense!   8. What achievements will allow you to retire happy?  Winning medals has been a huge achievement, especially as they were the first in my country for 25 years. Making my parents (who still live in Cameroon, Africa) proud; making my trainers proud. I thank God for all these things that are forever engraved in my memory. My ultimate aim is to train as hard as possible every day  so that I’m in with a chance of qualifying for, and getting a medal at, the Tokyo Olympic Games.   9. Knowing what you know now, what one thing would you change in your first training routines?  There’s not much I’d change – I don’t cheat, I give 100%, and I trust my coaches.  Ideally, I’d like to become professional which would change a lots of things – but this is not the case in France!   10. Who is the greatest weightlifter of all time?   I don’t think he’s the greatest weightlifter of all time like Naim Suleymanoglu or Pyrros Dimas, but the person I most admire and who has always made me want to excel is Dymtri Klokov.   11. What is the most important thing needed to be an Olympic weightlifter?  Humility, hard work and rigour are essential qualities – added to which is a desire to follow your dreams, have an open mind, and the ability to enjoy yourself.   [caption id="attachment_24180" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Gaëlle at the 2017 IWF World Championships[/caption] -- PERSONAL    1 Describe yourself in 3 words Generous, hard-working and cheerful.   2. What other sports do you like to play?  Athletics, in particular the 100m, which I practised when starting out in Cameroon.   3. What is your favourite meal?  Eru - a Cameroonian specialty.   4. If you could only eat one type of one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?  African cuisine, definitely something from my birthplace.   5. Describe your perfect day off.  Lunch with my family, a stroll and a browse in some shops. Ending with a meal at a great little restaurant near me in the south of France – on the seafront beneath the sunset.   6. Which person, alive or dead, would you like to have a conversation with? Bernard Garcia, manager of my French Club Clermont Sports, who  died of cancer in 2014.   He was the dearest person to me, my second father, and I feel his loss deeply. He did everything for me and now with God watches over my career.   7. Name one skill you would like to learn  Maybe wisdom, even if it’s not exactly a skill.   8. Where is the one place you would like to visit?  The Seychelles.   9. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? Accept everything that happens to you as God’s will. Acknowledge your failures with serenity and learn from them.   Watch Gaëlle takeover @iwfnet Instagram Stories next Wednesday 10 October, as she trains for the 2018 IWF World Championships in Ashgabat. — Follow IWF: Facebook Instagram Twitter

Get to know… Fernando Reis

Name: Fernando Reis D.O.B.: 10 March 1990 Nationality: Brazilian Bodyweight category: +105kg Major medals (Total): 2010 South American Games (Medellin, Colombia) - Silver 2011 Pan American Games (Guadalajara, Mexico) - Gold 2014 South American Games (Santiago, Chile) - Gold 2015 Pan American Games (Toronto, Canada) - Gold Personal Bests:  Snatch: 201kg Clean and Jerk: 242kg Total: 440kg [caption id="attachment_24023" align="aligncenter" width="563"] Fernando Reis[/caption] -- BUSINESS   1 Snatch or clean & jerk? It depends of the training cycle. At times I would rather do the snatch and other times the clean & jerk. Snatch is a technical exercise, whereas the clean and jerk… it requires more strength and more courage!   2. What do you like to listen to when training?  For me, the music doesn't really matter. I like to listen to hip-hop, but I think I listen to music so I don't get distracted by outside conversations.   3. How many hours a week do you spend in the gym?  I do 2 sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I do 1 session on Thursday and Saturday. Each session lasts 2 hours.   4. What's your favourite aspect of training?  My favourite aspect of training is preparing for competition. The prime of the prime. I like to compete well, so I must prepare myself like a savage.   5. Which aspect of training do you hate the most?  I hate the injuries. In fact, now I'm dealing with a big injury that brings a lot of uncertainty throughout the process. But I like to use injuries as an opportunity to work on something else, something I wouldn't normally do in a training session.   6. If there was one thing you could improve about your technique, what would it be?  Something I would improve about my technique would be for sure my second pull - where I could use more legs instead of my back. By doing that I would be able to keep the barbell closer to my centre of gravity, therefore I would finish the pull more vertically.   7. What is your most memorable lift? I think lifting at home in the Olympics in 2016 was a memorable moment. Thousands and thousands of people cheering my name – it was very cool. Watch our intimate interview with Fernando before the Rio Olympic Games.   8. What achievements will allow you to retire happy?  I will retire after I get my World Championships medal and Olympic medal. After that I will be happy. That means I have to work a lot to achieve those goals.   9. Knowing what you know now, what one thing would you change in your first training routines?  Knowing what I know now I would change my patience. When I was younger I used to kill myself in training. Now I know that I have to prepare myself for war and don't get killed in the process!   10. Who is the greatest weightlifter of all time?   Fernando Reis. I have to believe in myself more than anything. I respect the other lifters and have more respect for those who lift more than myself. I have admiration for Evgeny Chigishev, Khadzhimurat Akkayev, Pyrros Dimas. I like lifters who represent more than just lifting heavy weights.   11. What is the most important thing needed to be an Olympic weightlifter?  Be crazy, but have control. Know that the process takes a long time.   [caption id="attachment_24015" align="aligncenter" width="567"] Fernando at the 2017 IWF World Championships[/caption] -- PERSONAL    1 Describe yourself in 3 words Determined. Resilient. Kind.   2. What other sports do you like to play?  I like to shoot guns. I like automobiles - anything that involves speed.   3. What is your favourite meal?  Steak and fries.   4. If you could only eat one type of one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Brazilian steakhouse.   5. Describe your perfect day off.  PR snatch and PR clean & jerk. Sauna and then the beach in Miami. That’s a good day.   6. Which person, alive or dead, would you like to have a conversation with? The Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna.   7. Name one skill you would like to learn  I would like to learn how to invest money in stocks.   8. Where is the one place you would like to visit?  Bora Bora.   9. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? Do the best you can with what you have. Be kind and treat others with respect – everyone is the same unless they give you a reason to treat them differently. Family first.   Watch Fernando takeover @iwfnet Instagram Stories next Wednesday 26 September, as he trains for the 2018 IWF World Championships in Ashgabat. — Follow IWF: Facebook Instagram Twitter