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Lima, Day 2: Gold for Spain’s Gonzalez at fourth attempt, and a big performance from French improver Kochetova

It was fourth time lucky for Lucia Gonzalez from Spain in an exciting women’s 49kg contest at the World Youth Championships in Lima, where the day’s other champions were from Venezuela, Egypt and Moldova. After finishing fifth, eighth and ninth at three different weights in the previous three years, Gonzalez claimed gold with her last lift in her final year in this age group. Younger athletes from three continents pushed 17-year-old Gonzalez all the way. Lucia Gonzalez (ESP) “The difference this time is that I trained harder, and I made more sacrifices,” Gonzalez said. “I cannot do what other people my age do. I have a strict diet, I don’t go out socialising, don’t take holidays like them. My life as a full-time weightlifter is all about training. “I learned from those three earlier World Youth Championships that you must just keep going and do your best.” Gonzalez, who is keen on being a teacher later in life, took up weightlifting when she went to a gym with her friend Athenea Santana, who lifts here on Friday. Santana’s coach suggested she give it a try. She held off a strong challenge from Ogulshat Amanova, who won 45kg gold for Turkmenistan aged 13 last year. Amanova, coached by her father, took the lead on her final attempt before Gonzalez made 93kg to complete a sweep of career bests and claim victory on 76-93-169. One missed clean and jerk was costly for Amanova, who led at halfway and finished 77-91-168, up 12kg on her total last year. Bronze medallist Margot Kochetova from France put 36kg on her 2023 total. Kochetova, 15, whose parents left Russia to live in France before she was born, made 74-89-163. “Of course I am happy with that,” said Kochetova. “I made three personal records. “I was a gymnast and pole vaulter before, and I played chess too, but when I started weightlifting I knew it was the one for me.” Beatriz de Lima from Brazil and Maria Stratoudaki from Greece also performed well. De Lima took clean and jerk silver and finished fourth on total on 71-91-162. Stratoudaki, 15, could have been on the podium but she failed with her final two attempts in totalling 157kg. Dionangel Vargas (VEN) There was a close finish in the simultaneous men’s 61kg, in which the top three finished well clear. Pan American youth champion Dionangel Vargas won on 110-134-244 ahead of international debutant Hovhannes Hovhannisyan from Armenia on 108-134-242. Bronze medallist Wuttiphong Chomkhunthod from Thailand made all six lifts for 107-132-239 in his first competition at this weight. It was a memorable evening for Moldova when the women’s 55kg and men’s 67kg ran side by side. Nicoleta Cojocaru – no relation to Moldova’s national coach of the same name – won her country’s first youth world title for 12 years and Alexandr Baldji finished third in the men’s contest, in which the first three were a long way ahead of the rest. Nicoleta Cojocaru (MDA) Cojocaru had a nervous wait while Sato Waka from Japan had two attempts left. Sato failed with both on 105kg, leaving 15-year-old Cojocaru in first place on 80-103-183. She is Moldova's first female youth world champion. Jade Morales was the first United States medallist of the Championships in third place. Cojocaru made 80-103-183, Sato 79-100-179 and Morales 76-99-175. The Egyptian Marim Abdellatif took snatch bronze but bombed out in clean and jerk. Abdellatif’s team-mate Metwally Abdelrahman did better on the other platform. He had already won when he jumped 9kg for an attempt at the clean and jerk youth world record, but he failed. Metwally Abdelrahman (EGY) Abdelrahman made 128-158-286 ahead of Akhzol Kurmanbek from Kazakhstan on 129-156-285. Baldji was third on 127-155-282. By Brian Oliver Photos by Bob

Lima, Day 1: World record and four medals for India’s team of debutants – and two golds for Colombia

India had a day to remember when the World Youth Championships began at Videna national sports centre in Lima, Peru. Colombia also started well, winning two of the four medal events. None of India’s five athletes in action on a busy opening day had ever competed internationally. Four of the debutants won medals and Preetismita Bhoi claimed a clean and jerk youth world record of 76kg on the way to victory in the women’s 40kg. The only Indian lifter off the podium had a sweep of fourth places and missed a medal by 1kg. Preetismita Bhoi (IND) Vijay Sharma, India’s head coach who stayed at home to guide Tokyo medallist Mirabai Chanu through her preparations for the Paris Olympic Games, had set a target of seven or eight medals for his team of newcomers. They are well on target to exceed that, with six more athletes in action over the next three days. Bhoi and Jyoshna Sabar, both aged 15, finished 1-2 ahead of Fatma Kolcak from Turkey. While those two were bringing the 40kg session to its conclusion, their team-mate Babulal Hembrom was on his way to third place at 49kg on the men’s platform a few metres away. Freddy Bustillo (COL) Freddy Bustillo from Colombia won, ahead of Mohammed Al Ojaian from Saudi Arabia and Hembrom. India’s fourth medallist was 14-year-old Payal in the women’s 45kg. She finished second behind the Colombian Lawren Estrada, who claimed her second world title with a six-from-six performance. Alexandra Lopez from Mexico was third. Lawren Estrada (COL) “They were a little nervous because it was their first international competition,” said Alakesh Baruah, India’s head coach at this event. “They did very well and showed that things are happening for India thanks to our coach Vijay Sharma and our federation president (Sahdev Yadav).” Bhoi made five good lifts for 57-76-133, finishing within 2kg of the youth world standard on total. Sabar made 56-69-125 and Kolcak 55-65-120. Oriannis Pirona from Venezuela became the second youngest medallist in international weightlifting when, after failing with all three snatch attempts, she was third in clean and jerk on 69kg, aged 12 years 237 days. The other athlete who bombed out in snatch, Sevval Ince from Turkey, won clean and jerk silver on 70kg. The youngest ever medallist is Emily Ibanez Guerrero, who was third for Canada at 55kg in last year’s World Youths, aged 12 years 90 days. She is in the process of switching nationality. Pan American youth champion Bustillo made all six lifts in his 87-109-196, claiming the 49kg gold with his final attempt. Al Ojaian, who took up weightlifting when he saw his cousin compete, had one snatch failure in his 87-108-195, and Hembrom made 86-107-193. The youngest athlete in the session, 14-year-old Christian Di Maria from Italy, took snatch bronze. Bulgaria’s Nino Simeonov was unlucky in the men’s 55kg. He won snatch gold on 101kg but injured his left thigh on his final attempt, withdrew from the competition and had to go to hospital. Ramazan Yilmaz (TUR) Ramazan Yilmaz from Turkey was a clear winner after Simeonov’s injury. Yilmaz made all six lifts for 99-129-228 to deny Colombia a third victory, finishing 6kg ahead of Samuel Andrade on 98-124-222. Lissandro Rivaldo from Venezuela was third, 1kg ahead of India’s A Maharajan on 95-121-216. This is the first IWF Championships with two platforms and simultaneous A Groups in the main area, although there were multiple platforms at World Championships more than 20 years ago – one for A Groups and one for other sessions. By Brian Oliver Photos by Bob

Lima, Preview: India aiming for “simultaneous” medals as IWF tries two platforms for first time at World Youth Championships

India could win medals in different competitions at the same time when the IWF World Youth Championships starts in Peru on Wednesday. All 20 weight categories, 10 each for men and women, will be staged in five days because, for the first time, there will be two platforms at an IWF Championships. One platform will be for the men’s events and the other for the women. On the first day India – which is sending a team of 10 on a 34,000-kilometre round trip – has athletes in all four A Groups, which run simultaneously at 1400 and 2030 in Lima. Athletes are already training in Lima It is no surprise to see India looking to the future. The nation is bidding to host the 2036 Olympic Games and it knows that developing athletes now is essential. “The government wants us to do a long-term plan and we have already started our talent identification process state by state,” said Vijay Sharma, India’s head coach. “The level of interest is the key. Boxing, wrestling and athletics are the most popular among children, but weightlifting has become more popular after Mira (Mirabai Chanu) won her silver medal in Tokyo. There’s a lot of interest in her home state of Manipur, especially for girls. Everything is getting ready in the Peruvian capital “Our team for Peru is a new one, with all ten athletes from different states. We are focusing mainly on the lighter categories.” India won one silver and four bronzes at last year’s World Youth Championships in Albania. “We are hoping for seven or eight medals this time,” said Sharma. “These athletes will probably be too old for 2036 – we want them to be 21, 22 at that time so we are looking for talent aged nine or ten. “It took us a long time in India to come back from doping scandals. We have been successful with that, and now after Mira’s medal we are doing well. I would say that the future looks much brighter than the past for us.” Chinese Taipei, with 11 athletes, also sends a big team from Asia. Five members of the Pan American Federation have entered large teams – 19 for hosts Peru, 18 for Mexico, 15 for Colombia, 14 for Venezuela and 11 for the United States. Turkey, Poland and Spain send the largest teams from Europe. Three champions from last year compete in Lima – Ogulshat Amanova for Tukmenistan in the women’s 49kg, Seryoza Barseghyan from Armenia in the men’s 73kg and Irakli Vekua from Georgia in the men’s super-heavyweights. Etta Mae Love, the Canadian who was second in the women’s super-heavyweights in Albania last March, might have a shot at the youth world record in clean and jerk, judging by her numbers in training. By Brian Oliver

IWF President in Baku to enhance weightlifting development in Azerbaijan

The IWF President Mohammed Jalood was this week in Azerbaijan, where he had the opportunity to discuss new ways of developing weightlifting in the country with the national authorities. While in Baku, Mr Jalood met with Prime Minister Mr Ali Asadov, the Minister of Youth and Sports Mr Farid Gayibov, and representatives of the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee and Weightlifting Federation. IWF President Mohammed Jalood (first from the right) meets with the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Mr Ali Asadov (second from the left) and President of the Azerbaijan Weightlifting Federation Mr Kamran Nabizade (first from the left) During these three days, Mr Jalood visited Baku’s High-Performance Training Centre, a facility that could become an IWF Academy in the future. The complex includes high-level training facilities (the national team of Azerbaijan is doing its preparation there), but also excellent conditions for athletes’ accommodation. A presentation on this venue will be made by Azeri representatives at the IWF Executive Board meeting next December in Bahrain (during the IWF World Championships), so that it can eventually integrate the IWF Academy project, already active in China (Fuzhou) and Cuba (La Habana).  IWF President (centre) with Azerbaijan's Minister of Youth and Sports Mr Farid Gayibov (second from the left) and NF representatives (President Nabizade and Vice-President Mr Firdovsi Umudov, first from the right) “All authorities are quite enthusiastic about this project, as they want to elevate the level of weightlifting in Azerbaijan. The performances of the younger athletes in the country are already quite encouraging, but the sport and political officials are determined to develop a new weightlifting culture in the country, namely in the fundamental area of anti-doping,” considered Mr Jalood after the visit.  IWF President meeting Azerbaijan's National Olympic Committee representatives - Vice-President Mr Chingiz Huseynzade and General Secretary Mr Azer Aliyev  In his discussions with Mr Asadov, the IWF President was happy to know that Azerbaijan is keen to receive IWF events in the future, namely in the youth and junior age group category. This was confirmed by Mr Gayibov, but also by the National Olympic Committee Vice-President Mr Chingiz Huseynzade, and NOC General Secretary Mr Azer Aliyev.  IWF President with the President and Vice-President of Azerbaijan's Weightlifting Federation “I strongly encouraged the Azeri authorities to present their bids, as we all know that the country is perfectly capable of successfully hosting our events. Baku has staged many international and prestigious sports competitions, and we would like to be part of that list. The interest is real and I am sure we will have good news in the future,” concluded Mr Jalood. IWF

Get ready for the second edition of ITA’s anti-doping webinars!

Just one week to go for the second edition of the International Testing Agency (ITA) free series of five webinars devoted to anti-doping education. Every Wednesday, from May 22 to June 19, all participants will be able to be briefed and discuss on several topics related to this important subject. For the weightlifting family, this initiative is part of the #ILiftClean campaign and follows joint activities by the IWF and the ITA at our major events. The five-webinar series starts on May 22 with the theme “Introduction to anti-doping – Overview of the system, rights and responsibilities, ADRVs”. On the following week, participants are invited to discuss “The Doping Control Process – Testing procedures (urine and blood) and ABP”, while the third webinar, on June 5, will deal with “Medications, Supplements, Prohibited List and TUEs (including the principle of Strict Liability)”. Seven days later, the fourth online rendezvous will present the “Values, Consequences and Reporting (including decision-making and athlete testimonials”. The last webinar, on June 19, will focus on “Out-of-competition testing – Requirements of RTP/TP, whereabouts, and use of ADAMS”. The five seminars will be held, every Wednesday, from 14h00 to 15h00 (CET time) and will be run in English (with simultaneous translation in Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish). Those attending all five webinars will receive a final certificate. Participants must sign up for each session using the links below:   May 22, 2024: May 29, 2024: June 5, 2024: June 12, 2024: June 19, 2024:

IWF confirms “excellent level” of preparation for the 2024 Olympics in Paris

With less than 80 days to go before the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, an IWF delegation was in the French capital to discuss the last preparation stages of the event with the organisers. The group included Matthew Curtain, IWF Executive Board member and Paris 2024 Technical Delegate, Achilleas Tsogas, IWF CEO, and Matyas Lencser, IWF Competition Manager. During the two-day visit, various aspect related with the staging of the Games were revised, namely the accommodation and transportation plan, the accreditation and ticketing procedure, and the sports presentation. The IWF delegation also had the opportunity to visit the venue of the competition, as well as the training facility (located in the Olympic Village). Achilleas Tsogas (IWF CEO, fifth from the left), Matthew Curtain (IWF EB member and Paris 2024 Technical Delegate, fourth from the right) and Matyas Lencser (IWF Competition Manager, second from the right) meeting the Paris 2024 Olympic Games organisers The inspection of the sports complex used for the weightlifting competition – Paris Expo Porte de Versailles (SP6) – deserved special attention from the IWF. All logistical details related to the necessary requirements for a weightlifting event were reviewed, with some small adjustments still to be done until the staging of the Games. “We are now in the last metres of a long race, but we are extremely happy with the level of athlete-centred co-operation from Paris 2024. I am sure that the end of the journey, during the Games in Paris, will also be outstanding,” underlined Mr Curtain. “Together with Moira [Lassen, the second IWF Technical Delegate to the Games, but unfortunately not available for this visit], we have always enjoyed very positive support from our French friends highlighting in particular Paris 2024 Sport Director Aurélie Merle, Weightlifting Manager Jacqueline White, and Michel Reynaud, President of the French Weightlifting Federation.   Our mutual expertise has led to this encouraging outcome, which will be crucial for our clean athletes and the Olympic programme,” Mr Curtain concluded. The weightlifting competition at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games will take place from August 7-11 and will be contested by 120 athletes (+ two lifters from the IOC Refugee Team) in 10 bodyweight categories (five for men and five for women). IWF Communications