Competition Reports

The 2005 World Weightlifting Championships

The 2005 World Weightlifting Championships
November 9 – 25,
Doha, Qatar
Andrew Charniga, Jr.
Sportivny Press©

The 2005 World Championships for men and women took place in Doha, Qatar, the tiny oil and gas rich emirate located in the Persian Gulf. Since the temperature range was 90/75°, the training hall was set up in a tent next to the competition hall. It was well equipped with 26 platforms, squat stands, and it was air conditioned. The proximity to the hall made it convenient to walk back and forth between the competition hall and the tent to see lifters training during the breaks between weight classes. Since the athletes and officials were housed in nine hotels, transportation was a bit of a problem; however, the hosts were extraordinarily gracious and accommodating.

52 men and 42 women teams were entered, but many of these teams had only one lifter. Of these, the men had only two full teams entered and the women only five. A number of factors were the reason for this, not the least of which was money. Many federations simply do not have sufficient funds to travel in the year following the Olympics; Qatar was an expensive venue to get to. Many athletes were resting after the Olympics. Finally, the recent out of and in competition doping busts gutted or otherwise eliminated some teams (Turkey, for instance).

The Results

China won the team championships of both men and women. The Chinese teams, the Thai women, and the Russian teams were in the best of form. The analysis of the results presented in the tables 1 & 2 aptly shows that the teams who make the most attempts do well. This is especially true of those teams with the most athletes who make all three clean and jerks. These teams tend to place the highest in the team ranking.

Table 1. Classification of Men’s Teams
Team & Place # athletes %Snatch
Success %C&J
Success Overall Rate #Lifters
3 C&J Bomb outs
1. China 8 79 66 73.0 3 0
2. Russia 8 66 65 66.0 2* 0
3. Bulgaria 5 53 53 53.3 0 0
4. Romania 5 80 66 73.3 0 0
5. Colombia 6 55 66 61.1 2 0
6. Armenia 6 50 22 36.1 0 2
* Klokov stopped after the 2nd C & J.

Table 2. Classification of Women’s Teams
Team & Place # athletes %Snatch
Success %C&J
Success Overall Rate #Lifters
3 C&J Bomb outs
1. China 7 80 86 83.3 4 0
2. Thailand 7 66 66 66.7 1 0
3. Russia 7 70 66 69.0 1 0
4. Colombia 7 70 86 79.0 3 0
5. Poland 6 57 28 43.0 0 0
6. USA 6 57 57 57.0 1 0

Table 3. Men’s Medals and Places at 2005 World Championships
Place Nation #Athletes Gold Silver Bronze
1 CHN 8 10 5 1
2 RUS 8 5 5 1
3 IRI 4 2 1
4 KAZ 3 2 2
5 TPE 3 2 2
6 AZE 4 2
7 BLR 3 1 1
8 KOR 2 4
9 ROM 5 2 2
10 MDA 6 2
11 VIE 1 1 1
12 CUB 2 1 1
13 NRU 1 1
14 LTU 2 1
15 QAT 5 5
16 SVK 4 3
17 FRA 3 3
18 BUL 5 2
19 GER 4 1
35 USA 7

Table 4. Women’s Medals and Places at 2005 World Championships
Place Nation #Athletes Gold Silver Bronze
1 CHN 7 12 6 3
2 THA 7 4 8 3
3 RUS 7 3 6 9
4 KOR 3 2 1
5 USA 6 2
6 DOM 2 2
7 UKR 3 1
8 JAP 7 1

Coaches should use the success ratio of attempts and especially the number of lifters who made three clean and jerks in the competition to evaluate each athlete’s and the team’s performance, respectively. These data represent an ob

However, the “administrative” (by the respective federations) evaluation of a team’s performance where one simply looks at the team’s ranking based on points scored can be deceiving. The usual method is to simply look at the team placing. The team’s ranking is easy to determine, but it has a caveat; the teams which have the most lifters, or, in effect, are full teams (8 for men and 7 for women) have a distinct advantage over those with fewer lifters. Typically the countries with full teams are to be found at the top of the ranking.

A country which enters a full team can simply “out spend” other countries and, consequently, “appear” to do better. Limited funds for travel translates into fewer lifters to enter the competition with the possibility of fewer points scored.

Weightlifting is not a team sport. No Olympic medals are awarded to the best teams. Furthermore, typically, a federation’s funding from the Olympic committee or the government is tied to the number of medals won in the Olympics or individual medals won at the world or continental championships. So, the medals tally best shows what true success is. The most objective indicator of a weightlifting team’s competitiveness is to be found in the number of medals won, not the team placing.

Consider for a moment an analysis of the men’s results using the team classification and the medals results. For instance, the USA men entered 7 out of a possible 8 lifters and placed 8th in the overall team standings based on the IWF point system. This is a credible showing even despite the fact that 5 of the teams placing higher did so with fewer lifters. Furthermore, 8th place in the team results is pretty good, considering there were 52 teams entered. However, 16 teams had only one athlete; 10 had 2; 5 – 3 and 7 – 4. Of the 52 teams entered, only three teams had more entries (8 lifters) than the USA; the other 48 teams had less.

Now consider the truly objective measure of a team’s competitiveness, i.e. the number of medals earned. In this regard the USA’s 8th place in the team rankings becomes only 35th in the medals race. Only 14 of the 52 teams earned medals. Vietnam, Nauru (1 lifter each) and Cuba and Lithuania (2 lifters each) placed higher in the medals race than the USA. Furthermore, of the teams with only one or two lifters entered such as Iraq, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Latvia, Georgia, Ukraine, Belgium, Nauru and Vietnam, each had individual lifters who placed higher in the rankings than any US lifter.

Let’s look at the women’s team results. With six lifters out of a possible seven entered, the USA placed sixth in the team rankings. In this instance, as was the case with the men, of the 42 countries entered in the women’s competition 17 teams had only one lifter, 8 – 2, 8 – 3. In the medals race the women actually placed higher with a 5th place (2 medals) than in the team rankings. But the Dominican Republic also won two medals with only 2 lifters.

So, with regards to a truly objective measure of competitiveness, the USA women have better prospects than the men. However, you have to take into account that this picture could change radically when this competition takes place in a pre – Olympic year or in a more accessible location, i.e. where more lifters can attend.
A number of excellent performances highlighted these championships. Tuan Hoang Ahn (VIE), who had just turned 20 years old, placed 3rd overall in the 56 kg while lifting in the B session.
In the absence of Mutlu (TUR) {positive at the Europeans}, the two Chinese Qiu and Ping did not have much of a problem in the 62 kg weight class. Their performance was good but they were in no way “pushed.”
Shi (CHN) the Olympic Champion of the 62 kg class went six for six to easily win the 69s, but it was Boevski (Bul) absent.
Li Hongli won the 77 kg without too much difficulty. However, Abbas (QAT) cleaned 201 to move into first but missed the jerk. He was the only Qatari/Bulgarian who lifted reasonably well.
Abbas (QAT) Prepares to Jerk 196 kg (photo B. Charniga)

abbas Jerk

In the 85 kg class Perepechenov was only able to make one jerk with his huge shoulders and arms, despite easy cleans. Although the 23 year old Rybakau (BLR) set two world records in the snatch (183 and 185 kg), he placed only fifth behind the “old man” Ediev. Ilya Ilin was clearly the star of this weight class. This “ordinary” looking 17 year old clean and jerked 216 kg for a junior world record. The Russian Ediev’s performance was noteworthy. This “master” lifter (35 years old) clean and jerked 211 kg. His results are a good example of how the development of speed stops (he snatched 170 versus a best of 177.5/180) and strength picks up with maturity (the 211 was a personal record).
Nizami Pashayev (AZE) made an excellent comeback to win the 94 kg class after several years of problems such as bomb outs and stagnant results. Olympic champion Milen Dobrev (BUL) was still recovering from a back injury but nonetheless did fairly well placing third (398 kg) only 3 kgs behind the winner Pashayev with 401. Cobo Hernandez (CUB) placed 2nd in the clean and jerk with 220 kg and sixth overall, this despite the deplorable conditions for training and funding in Cuba. Apparently, the national team has only three working bars and some locally made discs to train with.
Dmitry Klokov (RUS) won the 105 kg while passing on his final clean and jerk. It appeared as if he and Bratan (MLD) would have a fight to the end in the clean and jerk. They were separated by only 2 kg in the snatch. However, Bratan failed with his 3rd which handed Klokov the win without needing a 3rd C & J.

Dmitry Klokov (RUS) snatches 190 kg (Photo B. Charniga)

Klokov 190 Snatch

In the 105+ class Reza Zadeh (IRI) needed only his first clean and jerk of 251 kg to beat Chigishev (RUS) who won the snatch with a result of 211. But the big man missed his jerk with 263 kg and called it a day. Reza Zadeh makes up for his poor technique with brute strength, but you really can’t get away with using your arms in the clean for ever.
Hossein typically makes effortless cleans, but this 263 kg was rather hard because the bar was unbalanced and the resultant jerk was lousy, to say the least. The jerk attempt was sort of a push press with an almost passive shuffling of the feet into a sloppy split position. Nevertheless, he put on a good show for the several hundred Iranian fans in attendance.
The European lifters who competed against Reza Zadeh deserve special recognition. The gallery of several hundred Iranian fans were noisy and rude to Rez Zadeh’s competitiors. They cheered and applauded when these lifters missed. They also whistled and were very noisy when these lifters were preparing to lift in order to distract them. To their credit, the Europeans ignored the rudeness and even in the case of Chigechev “stuck it to em” by making the 211 snatch which won the gold over Reza Zadeh, despite the racket.
With an entrant in each weight class, the Chinese women easily dominated. The likewise strong Thai and Russian teams were no match for the Chinese but did garner one gold medal each.
Wang Mingjuan broke all of the Junior world records including two each in the snatch and the clean and jerk in the 48 kg class. She set a new senior jerk and total record as well. This despite the serious knee injury she suffered in Vancouver at the 2003 worlds.
Li Ping (CHN) won a close battle with Kuntatean (THA) 224 kg to 223 kg in the 53 kg class. They both snatched 98 kg. Kuntatean was lighter, so Li had to out jerk the Thai girl 126 to 125 kg.
Another Chinese/Thai battle took place in the 58 kg class. Gu Wei (CHN) and Kamiem Wandee (THA) broke all of the senior and junior world records between them. Separated by only 1 kg in the snatch (102 to 101 kg), they made all six attempts in the clean jerk with Gu going to 139 after cinching the win with 136 on her 2nd attempt. Former world champion Alexandra Klejnowska (POL) was eliminated in the snatch. She like the rest of the Polish women’s team looked to be injury riddled and in poor form.
Wandee (THA) cleans 125 kg with close stance. (Photo B. Charniga)

Wandee clean 125

The 63 kg class came down to Thongsuk Pawina (THA) and Shmikova (RUS). Thongsuk took a commanding lead with a world record 116 kg snatch to Shmikova’s 108. Both lifters subsequently broke the world record in the clean and jerk with Thonksuk doing 140 to Shmikova’s 139 kg. Thongsuk then narrowly missed the jerk with 145.
Two Russians Zarema Kasayeva and Olga Kiselyeva went up against the Chinese Liu Haixia. Kasayeva pulled out a world Junior and Senior record 157 kg to overtake Liu who lead after the snatch. Liu first increased the Senior world record to 154 kg which lasted only 2 minutes before it was broken by Kasayeva.
The 75 kg class was another great battle between two Russians Natayla Zabolotnaya, Svetlana Podobedova and the Chinese Liu Chunhong. These three made nine successful snatches with Zabolotnaya coming out on top with a result of 130. After seven of nine successful clean and jerks, Liu won with a Junior and Senior world record 159 kg. 163 kg was simply too much for Podobedova’s third attempt.
Knees wrapped like a powerlifter, Liu Chunhong pulls on 155 kg (photo B. Charniga)

LIU Pulls on 155

75 kg Zabalotnaya (RUS) arms bent and muscles bulging 155 kg. (photo B. Chanriga)

Zabolotnaya pulls on 155 kg

Podobedova bends with 155 kg. (photo B. Charniga)

155 Jerk

The 75+ kg class was also great battle between the top four lifters. Former Junior and Senior world champion Agata Wrobel was obviously not in good form and, consequently, was not a factor. The top four lifters of Chinese, Korean, Ukrainian, and American made 10 of 12 snatch attempts. They then duplicated this feat in the clean and jerk. Mu Shuangshuang 3rd attempt 174 kg was turned down for press out and the winner Jang Mi- ran’s 178 kg final attempt was just too heavy. Cheryl Haworth (USA) did some great tactical and psychological lifting. She made six for six to overcome the Ukrainian Korobka’s six for six lifting, and she placed third on bodyweight with a total of 287. Bodyweight separated the top two as well with the Korean placing first over Mu with identical 300 kg totals.
All too often lifters and coaches draw conclusions based on misconceptions, without adequate analysis of all of the factors involved. For instance, the Thais had a very good women’s team. They have a Chinese coach. The technique of their lifters is not particularly noteworthy. For instance, Thonksuk Pawina places her feet in the starting position of the snatch and the clean at about hip or slightly narrower than hip width apart. She typically does not move her feet to the side much from their original position when she squats under the barbell. She relies heavily on the quadriceps for lifting the barbell to the knees then a lot of trunk and some upper body to continue lifting from there. This technique combined with a “no foot movement” squat under places a huge loading on the lower part of the front of the thighs and does not “distribute” the stress of lifting effectively throughout the muscles of the lower extremities.
As a result, she and a couple of other Thai lifters, who lift the same way, have a huge development of the lower quadriceps. It is so great that when Thongsuk stands with her legs straight (actually her knees hyperextend a little), the “quads seem to hang over the top her knee caps. Conversely, she has considerably less development in the hamstring and gluteus muscles which are important knee flexors and trunk extensor muscles respectively, for weightlifting.
It should be pointed out that all of the muscles of the lower extremities are important because their actions are interconnected and they are interdependent. So, an excessive loading of one muscle group is not a good idea.
All of the Chinese, Thai, and some of the other Asian women wrap the knees from 3 to 5 inches above to 3 to 5 inches below the knee with elastic bandages. Exercises and techniques which do not effectively involve all of the muscles of the lower extremities are likely to one of the causes of knee pain for instance; this explains all of the heavy wraps.
In her training Thongsuk and her teammates do power snatches with little or no squat until the weight gets heavier. They try to accentuate rising high onto the toes and to fully extend the knees and hips. This of course teaches you to finish lifting the barbell with a forward bar trajectory and to “artificially” delay the squat under the weight.
The Chinese, the Thai, and other Asian lifters (Japanese etc) did deadlifts in their training. A fairly big weight is lifted to the upper thigh then the lifter leans back a bit and bends the knees. Apparently, the Asian lifters think this exercise is important, or just maybe these lifters copy the Chinese because they do so well. The Chinese also finish their workouts with some ¼ front or ¼ back squats apparently to develop their legs for the jerk.
Asian lifter doing deadlifts in training. (photo B. Charniga)

Asian Deadlift

Since neither the dead lifts nor the performance of the ¼ squats conform to the biomechanics of the pull for the snatch or clean or the jerk, it is far more likely the Chinese do as well as they do in spite of, not because, of any perceived benefit from these exercises.
A number of lifters use a wide hand spacing to jerk. Most clean the weight with a normal or slightly wider hand spacing, then switch to a wide hand spacing after recovery from the squat. Very few of these lifters made three clean and jerks, and those that did make their first two attempts typically failed the jerk portion on the third with the heaviest weight. For instance the Chinese lifter Yuan (85 kg class) missed two jerks with 212 kg which would have moved him into second. He switches to a wide hand spacing after standing from the squat. Then he tries to slide his hands out further in the act of jerking it. He placed 6th.
Shi (CHN) employs the squat style of jerking some lifters blindly try to copy. He descended to about parallel to make his last jerk attempt. However, the perceived “benefits” of being able to drop lower under the barbell are more than cancelled out by the excessive loading placed on the shoulders to counterbalance the barbell and the excessive requirements to balance the entire system of the athlete/ barbell.
Apparently, another common misconception is to increase the amount of pressing and or switch to a “thumb – less” grip if you have problems with the jerk. None of the “thumb less” grip lifters, nor those with well developed arms and shoulders (Perpechenov for instance) were particularly successful in the jerk.
“Don’t eat hot food served cold!”
One’s understanding of the people in this part of the world can most certainly be “enlightened” by personal contact. Recognizing early on that the “hot food served cold” at the hotel could present a problem, your “humble narrator” decided stop eating lunch and dinner there but resorted to purchasing food and bringing it to the competition venue. Upon seeing me consume “my own” at the competition venue, a member of the host federation pointed out there was a hospitality room available and that it was not necessary to bring your “own.” I felt suitably embarrassed and enlightened when greeted by this same host upon entering the hospitality room later that day with, “Please my dear brother, help yourself to what we have provided for you.”
To see local customs up close can be a something of a shock. For instance, the use of a large tent for the training hall is sort of in keeping with a long standing local tradition with respect to housing in the desert. Somehow it seemed quite suitable for the local conditions and worked out very well.
It was also a shock to see a woman in public wearing the traditional black garment covering her body from head to toe. Typically there were two small slits cut into the material around the eyes. However, on one occasion I witnessed a man walking his wife (holding her hand) in public and her outfit had no eye holes.
At first glance this seems to be inhumane for an adult to have to go about in public completely covered in dark material from head to toe without even eye holes to see where one is going. And, at this time of year, the temperature was around 90°. However, it certainly is not my place to pass judgment.
On the other it struck me that she (the wife) had no purse. Consequently, it occurred to me that this custom of a wife unable to see a store when out in public, let alone buy something (no purse), has merit.


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