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Get to know… Mart Seim

Name: Mart Seim D.O.B.: 24 October 1990 Nationality: Estonian Bodyweight category: +105kg Medal record (Total): 2015 IWF World Championships (Houston, USA) - Silver 2016 European Championships (Førde, Norway) - Bronze Personal Bests:  Snatch: 191kg Clean and Jerk: 253kg Total: 444kg [caption id="attachment_23833" align="aligncenter" width="602"] Mart Seim (Mati Hiis)[/caption] -- BUSINESS   1 Snatch or clean & jerk? Clean & jerk.   2. What do you like to listen to when training?  When I feel I'm in good shape or undergoing a harder training session, I listen to something heavier, like rock. With base training I listen to anything but rock, as I don't want to ruin it. If I don't listen to heavier music too much, it helps me at the right training moment, if this makes any sense.   3. How many hours a week do you spend in the gym?  At training camp I spend on average 25 hours. In classic lift training I spend approximately 10 hours a week.   4. What's your favourite aspect of training?  If I'm injury free - that I'm in great shape and able to lift heavy weights.   5. Which aspect of training do you hate the most?  Injuries.   6. If there was one thing you could improve about your technique, what would it be?  I'd keep my heels down in snatch until the bar is at hip height. I'm working on it, but my heels tend to lift too soon. I've gotten a lot better over the years, though.   7. What is your most memorable lift? That 253kg clean and jerk in the last IWF Worlds. The audience there was unbelievably disrespectful, and to perform so well despite that... I'll remember it for a while.   8. What achievements will allow you to retire happy?  The clean & jerk world record and a medal at the Olympics. If they succeed in their current anti-doping efforts, maybe even a brighter medal...   9. Knowing what you know now, what one thing would you change in your first training routines?  I would change a lot. I've received loads of advice from people with the knowledge of the 1970s, when sport wasn't exactly clean. If you want to train clean, the entire plan is different, so I've had to learn myself by trial and error.   10. Who is the greatest weightlifter of all time?   I'd like to say Leonid Taranenko, but Lasha seems to be passing him.   11. What is the most important thing needed to be an Olympic weightlifter?  Patience. You can't escape injuries in weightlifting and being able to cope with them is probably one of the most important qualities. And of course you have to be willing to work very hard.   -- PERSONAL    1 Describe yourself in 3 words Hard-working. Patient. Positive.   2. What other sports do you like to play?  Football. Table tennis. I play table tennis at training camp, as it's quite safe!   3. What is your favourite meal?  If I cook myself, I make a great pasta with chicken, chanterelles, olives, paprika, garlic, cheese and a good sauce (just pasta would sound incredibly boring). In a restaurant I mostly order rib-eye steak with potatoes and mushrooms.   4. If you could only eat one type of one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Probably my native Estonian as we're used to eating a lot of potatoes and meat/carbs and protein. They're quite versatile, there are so many different meals you can make out of them.   5. Describe your perfect day off.  Holiday. Wake-up at 11am. Breakfast. To the sea on a yacht to do some whale/dolphin/penguin etc. spotting. A little nap in the afternoon. Some bowling in the evening. A nice meal at a restaurant. Home at a decent hour.   6. Which person, alive or dead, would you like to have a conversation with? Einstein. He might have a few tips on how to become stronger, or he'd figure it out!   7. Name one skill you would like to learn  Play with gravity like Lasha does in the Snatch.   8. Where is the one place you would like to visit?  There are several, but to name one – Madagascar. The more exotic, the more inviting.   9. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? My dad told me after my very first competition, “Don't worry. Be patient. Do the work and you'll see the results.”   Watch Mart takeover @iwfnet Instagram Stories next Wednesday 12 September, as he trains for the 2018 IWF World Championships in Ashgabat. — Follow IWF: Facebook Instagram Twitter

Hidilyn Diaz Reveals Sacrifice On Path To Golden Glory

Triumphant weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz has her sights set firmly on Olympic gold, inspired by her new Chinese coach, but first she might just indulge in a guilty passion — cheesecake and bubble tea. [caption id="attachment_23686" align="aligncenter" width="577"] Hidilyn Diaz of Philippines competes in the women's 53kg weightlifting event during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MONEY SHARMA[/caption] “The sacrifices you make are so hard when you’re training every day,” she told AFP after winning the Philippines’ first gold medal of the 2018 Asian Games on Tuesday. “I can’t eat sugar and sweets. I miss eating cheesecake and drinking bubble tea with friends. It’s hard,” said the sweet-toothed 27-year-old from the southern Philippines island of Mindanao. Diaz has already assured a place in her country’s sporting folklore, alongside the likes of Manny Pacquiao, as the only woman from the sprawling archipelago ever to win an Olympic medal. But now, with top Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen making “a difference” in her corner, she believes she can turn Rio 2016 silver into Tokyo 2020 gold after winning the women’s 53kg event in Jakarta. “My coach has been with me for two months,” she said of Gao, who is also the head coach of the Chinese national women’s army team. “I am so grateful for him. He made a difference in my lifts. He’s a positive person and I like to have him around me,” she added immediately after being presented with her medal. Gao has coached multiple Chinese Olympic medallists including 2012 women’s 75kg+ gold medallist Zhou Lulu. His experience has been invaluable to Philippines Air Force servicewoman Diaz, who has blossomed late in her weightlifting career — she did not even qualify for the last Asian Games in Incheon four years ago, before her breakthrough in Rio. “He changed my technique and more than that made me understand why I need to make the change if I want to win Tokyo 2020.” Gao introduced new routines and heavier weights in training and the results are clear — Diaz lifted 53kg personal bests of 92kg in the snatch and 115kg in the clean and jerk in Jakarta to total 7 kg greater than her Olympic silver effort two years ago. Realize a dream “That change in technique has given me even more confidence,” she said, believing she can push those bests even higher in Tokyo. “I’m really confident (of lifting more) because I was able to lift 115kg in training,” she said. “I just need to know my technique and visualize it. This result proves the Olympic gold medal is possible.” First, she needs to qualify for Tokyo, a cycle that starts at November’s world championships in Turkmenistan. Meanwhile, the busy Diaz will attempt to juggle training with her air force career, college studies and managing her new weightlifting gym opened last year in her hometown of Zamboanga in Mindanao. “I don’t know if I will win (the world title) because I will go back to school,” she said. “But I will do my best.” Diaz’s victory could reportedly be worth as much as P6 million ($112,000) in bonuses awarded to Philippines gold medallists from the government, National Olympic Committee, and other organizations. She said she would invest the money in her gym to give back to weightlifting in the Philippines and leave a legacy after she retires — Tokyo 2020 will be her last event. “My main goal is to help out kids in my hometown and realize their dream in weightlifting,” she said. “This sport could change their lives and hopefully they could become just like me in the future.” Source: — Follow IWF: Facebook Instagram Twitter

Meet Judy Glenney – The Woman Behind Women’s Weightlifting

“I had always been interested in testing my strength, but growing up that’s just something girls didn’t do,” remembers Judy Glenney, four-time Women’s National Champion. The American was one of the first women to pick up a barbell and swing it above her head, a movement that would see her start a long, rewarding relationship with weightlifting. [caption id="attachment_23537" align="alignright" width="290"] Gary and Judy Glenney[/caption] Judy was introduced to weightlifting by Gary Glenney, a member of the Athletes in Action weightlifting team and her future husband. “I was actually responsible for cleaning their weight room” laughs Judy, “I knew nothing about weight training, but I wanted to learn.” Under Gary’s guidance, Judy began to learn basic compound movements like the bench press and squat. But it still wasn’t enough to satisfy Judy’s burning curiosity. “I was interested in attempting what the guys around me were doing,” she says, “the snatch and the clean and jerk. The thing that intrigued me about the Olympic lifts was that they combined so many different things – strength, power, flexibility. Moving the body into those positions absolutely amazed me.” As soon as Judy started to practice the two lifts, she fell in love with them. And like any other great strength athlete, she became obsessed with trying to move as much weight as possible over her head, an obsession that would eventually lead to testing herself in male-dominated competition. ALL-MALE COMPETITION “Let’s be clear, I lifted weights because I loved to lift weights,” Judy says unapologetically. “I wasn’t trying to breakthrough the glass ceiling or embark on a crusade for women everywhere, I just wanted to test myself.” [caption id="attachment_23532" align="alignleft" width="291"] Judy in competition[/caption] It was in competition where Judy would start to encounter more pushback. Initially, she would compete against men in their competitions, as this was all that was on offer. She even agreed to not be officially recognised for her efforts – no medals, no trophies. “I wanted to show I could do it on their terms,” says Judy. “If I could show them I could lift with correct technique, that’s how I would win respect. I let my lifting do the talking.” Judy got the impression early on that this was something girls weren’t supposed to do. Fortunately, she had Gary in her corner giving simple advice - ‘if you enjoy it, do it.’ “I put all the funny looks aside”, says Judy, “I enjoyed the lifts, I enjoyed training, I enjoyed challenging myself. So, I just did it.” It was in the early 70s that Judy began to compete in weightlifting, when the American feminist movement was in full flow. “I wanted to compete to test myself,” explains Judy, “but in the process I found myself breaking down the barriers that existed to women and becoming part of the wider narrative.” Soon Judy would find herself at the forefront of the women’s weightlifting movement. WOMEN TAKE THE SPOTLIGHT Judy’s efforts on and off the platform were starting to make waves in the weightlifting community. Bill Clark, a pioneer in strength sports, held the first female competition in 1976 in Columbia, Missouri. “There were only a handful of us,” Judy recalls. It was the starting point for accelerated growth in women’s weightlifting. [caption id="attachment_23540" align="alignright" width="290"] Judy, Murray Levin and Mabel Rader[/caption] Five years later, the first official National Women’s Championship was held by USA Weightlifting in Waterloo, Iowa. It was Judy, along with magazine owner Mabel Rader and former USA Weightlifting President Murray Levin, who spearheaded the campaign for women to compete. “Murray was instrumental in the movement,” Judy says. “His was the deciding vote that allowed women into the fold.” Judy bested 28 other women to win the first Women’s National Championships, a title she would hold for four consecutive years. Judy recorded her best lifts in this era – 97.5kg clean and jerk, 82.5kg snatch and a 172.5kg total at a bodyweight of 67kg. How would she compete against today’s women? “Oh, I don’t think I could match them!” she laughs. From 1981 onwards, women’s weightlifting experienced unprecedented growth. The historic decision to open the sport to women internationally was made by the IWF in 1983. It was realised three years later with the Pannonia Cup held in Budapest, which attracted competitors from Hungary, China, Canada, Britain and the United States. “Budapest was the catalyst,” Judy remembers. “We drew big audiences. That made the guys at the top sit up and pay attention.” FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH As soon as the hunger for women’s weightlifting became apparent, international competition flourished. The success of the first Women’s World Championships in 1987, held in Daytona Beach, Florida, would assure recognition and support for women around the world. Interestingly, a prepared China won seven of the eight weight categories at these Championships, establishing their dominance in the sport that lasts to this day. [caption id="attachment_23542" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Judge Judy. Judy on jury duty for the World Championships[/caption] This fresh impetus for women would lead them to the Olympic Games for the first time in 2000. Her competing days over, Judy would have to settle for a position on the jury at the Sydney Games. “My dream was to see women compete at the Olympics,” Judy smiles. “It was incredibly rewarding and humbling to see it happen.” Weightlifting put women on the Olympic programme before wrestling and boxing, and at Tokyo 2020 there will, for the first time, be an equal split of the medals. Judy had been working towards that goal long before now. As the sport moves from strength to strength, bringing in female weightlifters from all over the world, it’s important to remember that that every one of them owes a debt to Judy Glenney.       - Judy Glenney lives and works in Vancouver, Washington in the United States. In 1989 she wrote a book with her husband Gary titled ‘So you want to be a female weightlifter’ and still works with aspiring female weightlifters. A note from Judy:  'I want to thank all the folks that have contacted me regarding the history of women's weightlifting. It has been such an honor and a humbling experience to find so many are interested. I never in my wildest dreams thought it would bring about this much attention. I am so thankful that God allowed and enabled me to do what I did. He brought about the fulfilment of a dream that I never thought possible in a most unexpected way. If it's one message I would like to convey, it would be to never give up on your dream. You never know how or when it will come true. Thanks again for allowing me to share my passion - my hope is that others will find that passion as well!' — Follow IWF: Facebook Instagram Twitter

Weightlifting Family celebrates Olympic Day!

Today, we celebrate the 70th Olympic Day, a worldwide occasion to embrace the Olympic Values: Friendship, Respect and Excellence – along with the four Paralympic values – Determination, Inspiration, Courage and Equality. On 23 June 1894 the International Olympic Committee was formally established through the efforts of Pierre Coubertin, a Paris born aristocrat, nobleman, teacher, athlete and sports enthusiast. Mr Coubertin had a vision of reviewing the early ancient Olympics, where everyone was accepted, nations put down their weapons for the duration of the Games (Sacred Truth) and took part in a peaceful competition. He believed, he could educate people on acceptance, friendship and different cultures through this enormous sports event. This idea now is as important as ever, and we remember Pierre Coubertin fondly. But who would feel the spirit of the Olympics more than the ones who walked the Parade of Nations sharing their joy with the whole world? On this occasion, we asked our athletes how they felt about Olympic values and what special Olympic memories they hold dear. Sarah Davies (GBR) “The Olympic values not only embody everything that we should strive for when competing in sport but also everything we should strive for in our everyday life.” “My first memory of the Olympics was watching the gymnastics in 2000 and I remember thinking, I want to represent my country at the Olympics one day! There was also something special about watching my fiancé Jack Oliver compete at the home Olympics in London.” “Fair play can come in many forms, but I think the best act of a fair play I have witnessed and been a part of was during a British Championships where myself and 2 of my national teammates were head to head in the 63kg class. I and Emily had finished, and Zoe had the final lift and a British record attempt. Both I and Emily stood there to cheer her on and congratulate her regardless of her beating us in the competition.” Gaëlle Nayo Katchanke (FRA) “For me, the Olympic values mean respect for your opponents regardless of nationality or skin colour. Determination, courage, combativeness, surpassing oneself, fraternity over humility and equality between each athlete! Dymtro Chumak (UKR) “The Olympic Games have special values to me. Since ancient times it has been the top of sport and being involved in this event makes me feel very special.” “I think it is very important in our time, that the athletes could compete in equal conditions, adhered to the Anti-Doping code and the IWF rules. Fair play determines the real champion.” Kuo Hsing-Chun (TPE) “In my mind, attending the greatest competition in the world is the highest honour for me, my family and my country. “Getting the medals is important but the Olympic Games is so much more than that. If it wasn’t for the true spirit of sportsmanship, Olympic Games wouldn’t have become the most impressive sports event in the world. “The Olympic Spirit includes not only the fair and peaceful competition instead of fighting and hurting each other but also inspires people to achieve victory through hard work and challenging, pushing ourselfs to the breaking point. “ “I always tell myself: be stronger, set higher goals and your dream will come true faster.” Sivalingam Sathish Kumar (IND) "Olympics are a dream. It’s not an easy thing to do, first, getting qualified is very tough. But once you’re in, it is a really big thing. If you won a medal there, you become part of the history and your life changes fully." "Unfortunately, I injured my back before I participated, so I ended up in 11th place." "We must play fair; every athlete needs clean and fair chances to win." Hidilyn Diaz (PHI) “Olympic values mean the excellence that unites different people with different perspectives and beliefs. To be excellent I need the courage to continue what I love to do and determination to achieve my goals.” “I had a wonderful experience at my first Olympics, in 2008 in London, when I was just a nobody and I didn’t know anything about the Games. But being there gave me the motivation to get qualified for the next one. My second Olympics, I lost.  But on my third Olympics, I felt like I was God's powerful champion. I won the silver medal when I thought my best chance is the bronze.”         — Follow IWF: Facebook Instagram Twitter

The Bright Future of USA Weightlifting: Mattie Rogers

You may have seen Mattie Rogers lighting up the world weightlifting stage in recent years. You may even be one of her 476,000+ Instagram followers. Already World University, American Open, National University, and National Champion, what’s certain is that this 22-year-old is destined for even bigger things in the sport. The question is, how far can she go at the 2017 IWF World Championships in Anaheim next week? We spoke to Mattie ahead of her trip to California to find out how she got into weightlifting, her pain at missing out on Rio 2016, and what it means to be the inspiration of a new generation of female athletes.  Welcome to weightlifting Born in Apopka, Florida, Mattie Rogers entered the world of sport in a traditional way. “I started gymnastics aged 2, and carried on with it for 10-12 years,” she recalls. Later came competitive cheerleading. Weightlifters may scoff at this, but those in the know understand cheerleading requires immense strength, coordination and flexibility – three things fundamental to Olympic lifting. This, as well as the gymnastics, served as a great foundation when she discovered weights. “I think gymnastics helped me the most,” Mattie says. “It developed my basic overall strength and coordination from a young age.” At just 17, Mattie became enamoured with the rapidly emerging sport of CrossFit, and it was through this that she began to reveal a talent for Olympic lifting. “I actually felt I wasn’t particularly good at lifting weights,” she remembers. “I preferred the bodyweight movements that echoed my days as a gymnast.  But what I loved about weightlifting, and still love, is how technical it is – how you must focus on the small things to get that edge.” CrossFit soon took a backseat to lifting. And as for cardio? Well… “we weightlifters laugh at the thought of cardio!”  The Olympic dream In 2016, Mattie’s hopes of making the USA Olympic Team were crushed at Trials. Jenny Arthur, Sarah Robles and Morghan King were selected to represent their country at Rio, leaving Mattie deflated. “I was very bitter for a very long time,” she admits, “but not with anyone but myself.” Did this put an end to her dream of competing at the next Olympics? Far from it. “To go and sit in the stands and watch what I could have been doing has motivated me to be smarter this time around.” And with time comes experience. Mattie has learned that to perform on the world stage, she doesn’t need to be on peak form for all four years of the quad. “By the time of the Rio Olympic Trials, I was burned out by overtraining. Now, I know I don’t have to reach my peak until the performances that really count,” she explains. 2017 World Champion? Before Tokyo 2020 Trials become a reality, there is the small matter of competing at this year’s IWF World Championships. Mattie enters Anaheim with a total of 239kg, just below Egypt’s impressive Sara Samir Ahmed, Taipei’s Wang-Tung Hung, and Colombia’s Leidy Solís (of whom Mattie is a big fan and against whom she will be competing in the Female 69kg). This category might appear to be a stacked card, so Mattie will have to reach her peak and use the energy of the crowd to be in with a chance of a medal. With the Championships taking place in California, the USA team can expect a warm reception and fantastic support. For Mattie, some extra encouragement is on hand. “My mom is coming to watch me lift for thefirst time,” she says with a smile.  [caption id="attachment_20580" align="aligncenter" width="530"] Image: FloElite[/caption] Inspiring female athletes Does Mattie feel the pressure of responsibility? “I don’t think anyone should compare themselves to anyone else,” Mattie says. “People probably see me on social media as an unconventional type of girl, and I hope that inspires them not to worry about what other people think and to simply do their own thing.” The female roster for the 2017 World Championships is impressive, and is indicative of increased female participation in the sport as a whole. As more women enjoy greater exposure in the discipline, the spotlight will naturally fall upon the biggest personalities. With a social media following worthy of the biggest sports stars, Mattie Rogers is certainly one of these. -- Follow Mattie's progress at the 2017 International Weightlifting World Championships next week on IWF social channels. Follow us on: Facebook Instagram Twitter

Interview with HUANG Ting 2015 Youth World Champion

A Talent and Training Program was launched by the Chinese Weightlifting Association and Chinese Weightlifting Teams last summer where 12 athletes and 4 coaches were selected to participate. SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile co., ltd. (SGMW, Wuling & Baojun) long term-partner of Chinese Weightlifting Association and Chinese Weightlifting Teams, gave support to this great initiative promoting Youth and Junior athletes participation in weightlifting. Athletes aged from 8 to 17 participated in a Weightlifting Summer and Training Camp. Among them, HUANG Ting (CHN) who participated in her first International Competition on the occasion of the 2015 IWF Youth World Championships Lima, PER. Winning the Youth World Champion title in the Women’s 63kg bodyweight category, she answered some questions: How was your experience and what did you learned from the program? It was an incredible experience and I learned a lot. Through this Talent Program, I became more mature than before. A real plus was also the fact that immediately after, I had the opportunity to go to train with the National Team. I trained 3 months in the National Team, and that gave me an aim for the future. Before the Program, I had no precise idea about what will happen, but it made my future dream clear. Were you expecting the Medals? Two weeks ago I attended a Qualification event for the 1st Youth and Junior National Games and only ranked 11th with a big difference compared to the winner. I kind of lost confidence, but the Sport Authorities and Team convinced me about the fact that I was still young, had talent and still a lot of time to improve! This is the first time I participate in World Championships. I did not think much about the competition or the result, I hoped to do my best, and actually this is what happened. The result achieved here is my Personal Best! That makes me happy. How was the experience with the National Team? During the 3 months period with the National Team, I found life boring. Girls my age need entertainment, but I kept focus, concentrated on training and tried to discipline myself. The next 5-12 month leading up to the Youth and Junior National Games will be about practicing and trying to get better results in order not to disappoint my coach! It is important for me to truly incorporate everything I learn in the National Team. I hope I will be able to officially integrate the National Team as member. The senior athletes helped you out when needed? All of them helped a lot and gave me useful advices. The best ones were related to my technique – how to correct my moves. I believe I still have some week points where I can improve, and usually after the training we have some more time to practice the technical specificities of my Clean and Jerk. All the National Team athletes and Coaches are very helpful and gave a lot of guidance. Who is your favorite lifter? LIAO Hui!!! I wish that one day I can become such a model for the youth as well as a well-known star just like him. He is successful and such a bright talent. What do your parents think about what you do? They are very supportive, even though they don’t know much about the sport. My mother told me “If this is what you want and what you like doing, we will support you always”. What do you do in your free time? I practice calligraphy! I have a special notebook for that purpose. Any plans for the future? I wouldn’t think too much about it. It is better to keep the dream deep in my heart and follow step by step. But of course I would love to step on the podium of the Olympic Games one