Competition Reports

The 2014 World Weightlifting Championships: Part 1

The 2014 World Weightlifting Championships
Andrew Charniga, Jr.
Sportivny.press

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The 2014 World Weightlifting Championships were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan from November 8 – 16, 2014. This event was only six weeks after the Asian Games Championships. Consequently, the Asian lifters, who competed in both competitions, had to either peak for one or the other or hold a peak for six weeks.

Since this event was one of the major qualification events for 2016 Olympic Games, over six hundred competitors from 75 countries took part. The competition complex was an ice skating arena supplied with 60 training platforms; it was altogether an excellent facility.

General Impressions

Despite the relative close proximity to the most important competition in Asia outside of the Olympic Games, Asia once again proved to be dominant over Europe and the rest of the world combined. Asia won six of the seven women’s classes and six of the eight men’s which is only one less than the 2012 Olympics.

Very much like the events which transpired at the Asian Games, most of the outstanding results were a product of fierce competitions or intense motivation to achieve high results for the reward of becoming a world champion.

Some of the most notable achievements came in the 105 kg class where three different lifters broke the world record in the clean of jerk of 238.

The final result of 242 kg by Ilya Ilyn is particularly noteworthy. The progress of male and female world records was analyzed in the text A De-masculinization of Strength. The world record in the clean and jerk of the 100 kg class as of December 31, 1988 was 242.5 kg. This weight was never approached, even in relative terms, from the newly established 99 and 108 kg classes until December 1997. Indeed, the record of the 108 kg class was 236 kg as of December 31, 1997, i.e., even though the athletes of this class had eight kilos more body mass.

The new (and current) weight categories were introduced January 1, 1998. Calculations at that time established 242.5 kg as the appropriate world standard record weight. This world standard was abandoned by 2008 for 236 kg, the best result achieved over this period at 105 kg. It was obvious no one was going to breach the 242.5 kg world standard, so the lesser weight of 236 would give the lifters something reasonable to shoot for.

Well then, it took seventeen years plus the extraordinary conditions of three athletes fighting for medals and the record to almost breach the world standard of 242.5 established in 1998. It is no understatement to say this record was ripe.

However, that being said, it is still 27 years removed from 1988 when the record of 242.5 kg was set by an athlete with 5 kg less body mass than today’s athletes in the 105 kg class.

It has also been established that the male weightlifter has particular difficulty jerking the barbell from the chest in the still evolving era of invasive and sophisticated testing.

For instance, the 77 kg class clean and jerk record of 210 kg was established in 2001. The previous record established in 1987 in the old 75 kg male weight class was 215.5 kg.
At this championships Daniel Godelli cleaned but was unable to jerk 211 kg from the chest. To the best of our knowledge, he is the fifth lifter from three different countries since 2009 who was able to clean this weight and yet fail to jerk it. This despite the fact that according to the Soviet era, but still working in weightlifting, sport scientist V.V. Kanyevsky (“Problems with the Jerk”, www.sportivnypress.com), “Simple calculations show that a successful jerk requires significantly less force than the clean.”

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Daniel Godelli (ALB) Charniga photo

It is obvious new, modern methods of training are in order for the male weightlifter to overcome this problem, which as noted in the text A De-masculinization of Strength is very likely connected with the psychotropic properties of the male hormone testosterone.

The Women
48 kg Class

The pretenders of this class were: OZKAN SIbel (TUR), TIAN Yayun (CHN), KHAMSRI Panida (THA) and Yelisseyva Margarita (KZ).

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TIAN Yayun (CHN). Charniga photo.

KHAMSRI Panida (THA) was up first with 76 kg. She hopped back a little and sat low. She made another smooth lift with low squat at 79 and an identical third with 81 kg. OZKAN Sibel (TUR) hopped back, dropping not particularly fast with 82. Yelisseyva Margarita (KAZ), the Asian Games champion six weeks prior, dropped 83 first forward then backward. TIAN Yayun (CHN), machine like, hopped back and sat low with 83. Yelisseyva Margarita (KAZ) had 83 up briefly but dropped it forward again; she was out. In her case, the pressure of a home town crowd was too much.

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KHAMSRI Panida (THA). Charniga photo.

OZKAN Sibel (TUR) sat kind of slow holding 84 briefly in the low squat before dropping it back. She repeated with this weight, but this time waiting until it was under control before standing. TIAN Yayun (CHN) made another mechanized, hop back lift with 85; then 87 was up easily before she dropped it behind.

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OZKAN Sibel (TUR) Charniga photo.

OZKAN Sibel (TUR) struggled to clean 103, jerking forward but managed to hold it. TIAN Yayun (CHN) hopped back to clean 105 very easyily, followed by a solid jerk. KHAMSRI Panida (THA) cleaned 105 with no foot movement and made a poor effort to jerk the weight which was way forward. OZKAN Sibel (TUR) pulled, sat then struggled to stand with 105 before jerking forward; nevertheless she wedged herself under it. Even with no foot movement, KHAMSRI Panida (THA) made the easiest clean with 105 and a fast solid jerk. TIAN Yayun (CHN) made an extremely easy clean with 108 but then jerking with an obvious press out for no lift.

OZKAN Sibel (TUR) was unable to shoulder 108 on her third. KHAMSRI Panida (THA) made an elastic, no foot movement clean then a fast excellent jerk with her third at 108. TIAN Yayun (CHN) made another ridiculously easy clean with 109. This time she focused on locking her arms better for a good lift and the gold in jerk and total.

53 kg Class

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Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ). Charniga photo.

The pretenders of this class were: Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ), LI Yajun (CHN), HSU Shu – Ching (TPE).
At the 2014 Asian Games, HSU Shu – Ching (TPE) and Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ) waged a fierce battle for the gold with world records required to settle the outcome. However, HSU was in top form in Incheon but Chinshanlo was not.

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HSU Shu – Ching (TPE). Charniga photo.

Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ) was up first with 95 which she made without hopping forward or back. HSU Shu – Ching (TPE) made the same weight with a slight hop back. LI Yajun (CHN), the 2013 World Champion and who snatched 105 at the 2013 Chinese National Games, opened with a slow 95. Feeding off the cheers of the home town crowd, Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ) was unable to fix 98 on her second apparently because of a torn callus on her left hand. She followed herself with the same weight; getting to bar and starting to lift with only 4 seconds on the clock, she made this weight despite the bar tilting to the right.

HSU Shu – Ching (TPE) went to 99 for no lift. She hopped back and ran forward to the right to save 99 on her third. LI Yajun (CHN) made two slow, poor attempts at 100. She was behind by 3 and 4 kg to the leaders.

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LI Yajun (CHN). Charniga photo.

LI Yajun (CHN) opened the C&J with 115. A slow jerk followed an easy clean. She went to 117 kg for another success, then 118 with a little struggle to jerk it. She was not the same athlete who snatched 105 and jerked 122 at the Chinese national Games last year.
HSU Shu – Ching (TPE), who equaled the world record in the jerk six weeks earlier, opened with only 119. She cleaned well but had to step forward in both clean and jerk to get her balance. Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ), reaping the benefit from the partisan home town audience and unlike six weeks earlier, was in top form. She made a no stop at the bottom clean with an easy jerk at 127.

HSU Shu – Ching (TPE) went to 127 to stay ahead of Zufila. She struggled to clean, jerking it way forward. After focusing for some additional time, HSU Shu – Ching (TPE) was unable to shoulder 127, thus ceding the gold. Chinshanlo Zufila (KAZ) sat low, bouncing before recovering to struggle a little in the jerk, with a new world record 133. With nothing to prove but wishing to reward the home town audience, Zufila went to 134 for another world record. This time she had to bounce twice to stand from the squat. The jerk was better than her 133; it was her third world record jerk in six weeks.

58 kg Class

The pretenders of this class were: DENG Mengrong (CHN), RI Jong Hwa (PRK), KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) and SRISURAT Sukanya (THA).

KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) opening with 98 and had the weight up but too far forward, thus causing her to drop to both knees. The repeat with the same weight was better with a slight press out. RI Jong Hwa (PRK), the 2014 Asian Games champion just six weeks earlier, starting from an erect trunk, deep squat position made a slow snatch with 99. KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) went to 100 which was uncoordinated and not close. DENG Mengrong (CHN) made a hop back with a poetry in motion, elastic lift with 101. SRISURAT Sukanya (THA) flipped up 102 easily with little foot movement and without a low squat. RI Jong Hwa (PRK) dropped her 2nd at 103 backwards. She tried to correct this on her 3rd with 103 but this time it dropped forward.

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DENG Mengrong (CHN) Charniga photo.

DENG Mengrong (CHN) made another hop back smooth as silk lift with 104. SRISURAT Sukanya (THA) made another easy no foot movement, hop back lift with 105. DENG Mengrong (CHN) made her third at 105 with an ultra – elastic, hop back, wider shifting of the feet and deep squat under the barbell. SRISURAT Sukanya (THA) had to sit in the low squat for several long seconds before recovering with 106 to move into first.

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SRISURAT Sukanya (THA).Charniga photo

SRISURAT Sukanya (THA) muscled a no foot movement 120 lift to her chest followed by a slow jerk. Struggling a little at the top of the recovery from the clean, KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) jerked 125 on her first. SRISURAT Sukanya (THA) made a fast easy clean but a terrible effort to jerk 125. She made a much better successful effort in the jerk with the same weight on her third. RI Jong Hwa (PRK) hopped forward, bounced several times in the low squat then jerked 129 a little forward for a good lift. KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) made a big hop forward to clean 129 and, even though she got set correctly, jerked it too far forward.

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RI Jong Hwa (PRK). Charniga photo

DENG Mengrong (CHN) made a routine for her, hop back, springy, clean and jerk with 130. KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) hopped way too far forward again for 131 almost dropping the weight off her chest before jerking too far forward. RI Jong Hwa (PRK) made a smooth hop forward clean with 133 then jerked it; receiving two red lights for no apparent reason. DENG Mengrong (CHN) selected a modest increase to 133. She hopped back, bouncing twice before jerking a little off center causing her right arm to unlock. Sitting very low before bouncing three times, RI Jong Hwa (PRK) was very careful to fix her elbows for a good lift with 133.

DENG Mengrong (CHN) pulled 133 onto her chest on her 3rd, bounced, started up, went back down to bounce several more times before recovering. She made the same mistake in the jerk, except this time it was her left arm that drifted forward. She became the champion in total without placing first in either lift.

63 kg Class

With Maya Maneza (KAZ) lifting and moving up to 69 kg, the pretenders of this class were: DENG Wei (CHN), LIN Tzu – chi (TPE), Turieva Tima (RUS), Jo Pok Hyang (PRK) and CHOE Hyo Sim (PRK).

Jo Pok Hyang (PRK) opened with 105 for a smooth lift. CHOE Hyo Sim (PRK), starting from a low squat and near vertical trunk, had 108 up but let it drift backwards. Turieva Tima (RUS) made a hop forward good lift with 108. Jo Pok Hyang (PRK) got her second to arms length but had to sit several seconds to get her balance in the low squat when both heels raised from the floor. CHOE Hyo Sim (PRK) made her second with 108 in slow motion. DENG Wei (CHN) dropped her first with 110 forward.

LIN Tzu – chi (TPE), the Asian Games Champion six weeks earlier and current world record holder, opened with 110 by pulling it up all right but then dropping it in front. DENG Wei (CHN) accelerated her second 110 much more, sat low, but the weight dropped forward again. LIN Tzu – chi (TPE) made a much better effort to sink low and fix her repeat with 110 for a good lift. Jo Pok Hyang (PRK), starting from a very low squat, pulled 110 up but it was not close. DENG Wei (CHN) fixed 110 in a low squat, then shifted a little lower before recovering to avoid elimination. CHOE Hyo Sim (PRK) raised up from her low start way too slow with her third at 111 which ended up going nowhere near arms length.

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Turieva Tima (RUS). Charniga photo

Turieva Tima (RUS) sank low with 112 before recovering to move into the lead over DENG Wei and the two North Koreans.

LIN Tzu – chi (TPE) made and uncoordinated attempt at 113 to continue what was to become an obvious trend. Virtually all of the medalists at the Asian Games were off; they were not necessarily weaker but just not in fine tune for this level of competition. Turieva Tima (RUS) had what may have been a decisive weight in 114 briefly, only to drop it behind.

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DENG Wei (CHN). Charniga photo.

DENG Wei (CHN) opened with a very safe 130 considering she had broken the world record with 144 only six weeks earlier. CHOE Hyo Sim (PRK) cleaned 133 slowly but jerked quickly with her first at 133. LIN Tzu – chi (TPE), opening 10 kg below her world record of 145, dropped the barbell forward half way up from the clean. Jo Pok Hyang (PRK) cleaned 135 easily but made a poor effort to jerk it. She managed to jerk the weight on her next with a slight press out. Turieva Tima (RUS) opened with 136 for a solid hop forward clean and equally solid jerk to move into first place. DENG Wei (CHN) made her next attempt all right then staggering off the platform.

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LIN Tzu – chi (TPE). Charniga photo.

Obviously having a rough day, LIN Tzu – chi (TPE) lifted 136 to just below knee height, set it back down, then went on to clean and jerk the weight; not particularly well. CHOE Hyo Sim (PRK) slowly pulled 136, hopped back, struggled to stand, finishing with a fast, powerful jerk. Jo Pok Hyang (PRK), who easily cleaned what would have been a world record 144 six weeks earlier, pulled 139 to her chest awkwardly but was unable to stand with it. Endeavoring to take a commanding lead, Turieva Tima (RUS) did just that with good clean but slow jerk with 140. LIN Tzu – chi (TPE) managed to clean 140, but after flipping it off her chest a couple of times, she had nothing left for the jerk. CHOE Hyo Sim (PRK), in 9th place after the snatch, made another slow mechanical clean, followed by a fast snappy jerk to move all the way into 2nd place.

Now there were only two lifters left. DENG Wei (CHN) went to 142 to move into first. She struggled to stand from the squat but recovered well to make a fast solid jerk. Dizzy from fever and cold, she had to pause a few moments before walking off. Turieva Tima (RUS) needed only to lift the same 142 to retain her 2013 world title. She pulled the weight to her chest all right but it was a little forward causing her to round her shoulders and step forward while standing from the squat. She started to black out, so there was no attempt to jerk it.

69 kg Class

The pretenders of this class were: CHEN Youjuan (CHN), Zhapparkul Zhazira (KAZ), RYO Un Hui (PRK), Sazanavets Dzina (BLR).

Sazanavets Dzina (BLR) hopped slightly back with 112. The shorter Zhapparkul Zhazira (KAZ) has to grasp the bar with her hands inside the snatch markings as she almost power snatched 113. RYO Un Hui (PRK) pulled 115 slowly, sitting very low for a good lift. A five kilo jump to 117 was too much for a second attempt for Sazanavets Dzina (BLR). However, she made this after quite a struggle to keep from dumping the weight to the left.

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Sazanavets Dzina (BLR). Charniga photo

CHEN Youjuan (CHN) hopped back in a single movement lift with 118. Switching from power snatch to low squat snatch did not work for Zhapparkul Zhazira (KAZ) on her second with 118. Hopping back, she managed to force herself under the same 118 on her third. RYO Un Hui (PRK), who placed third at the Asian Games, sat low with arms almost unlocking on her second at 120. CHEN Youjuan (CHN) hopped back, squatting low with the bar firmly overhead but inexplicably dumped it in front. A slow pull and a slow squat under would not go for RYO Un Hui (PRK) with 122 on her third. CHEN Youjuan (CHN) once again fixed 123 in the squat with the bar firmly behind her head before dumping it in front again as she recovered from the squat.

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CHEN Youjuan (CHN). Charniga photo.

Sazanavets Dzina (BLR) made a fast almost no foot movement clean with 135 on her first, followed by a fast solid jerk. CHEN Youjuan (CHN) jerked 138 quickly and solidly after a slow clean. Zhapparkul Zhazira (KAZ) cleaned 140 without hitting a deep squat with an excellent jerk in a wide, fast split. RYO Un Hui (PRK) made a smooth efficient clean with 141 and a fast, powerful jerk. Sazanavets Dzina (BLR) cleaned 143 faster and easier than her first, followed by a fast split in the jerk. CHEN Youjuan (CHN) dragged 143 so slowly there was no chance to even shoulder the weight. She repeated with this weight and this time pulling faster, bouncing twice in the squat; she jerked it slowly but it was solid. Zhapparkul Zhazira (KAZ) jerked 144 a little forward then made the mistake of releasing the barbell at arms length, resulting in getting three reds.

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RYO Un Hui (PRK). Charniga photo.

Sazanavets Dzina (BLR) cleaned 144 a little forward, so after taking a step to get set, she ended up jerking way too far forward. Zhapparkul Zhazira (KAZ) struggled more to clean and jerk 144 on her repeat; she was careful to lower the bar before releasing for a good lift. RYO Un Hui (PRK) cleaned 145 slowly and once again jerking it very fast and powerful. This was more than she had made six weeks earlier in taking second place. She was unable to stand with a third attempt at 146.

75 kg Class

The pretenders of this class were: KIM Un JU (PRK), KANG Yue (CHN), Yevstukhina Nadezhda (RUS), RIM Jong Sim (PRK), Valentin Lydia (ESP).

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KIM Un JU (PRK). Charniga photo.

The 2012 Olympic champion at 69 kg RIM Jong Sim (PRK) fixed a slow but easy 115 on her first. Starting from a low squat, the Asian Games champion of six weeks earlier KIM Un JU (PRK) snatched 120 with a slight hop backwards, without bottoming out in the squat. Valentin Lydia (ESP) hopped back without sinking low, a miss at 120. RIM Jong Sim (PRK) made another slow, low squat snatch with 120. Valentin Lydia (ESP) forced herself down into a lower squat on her repeat success with 120. Yevstukhina Nadezhda (RUS), who had zeroed in London with 125, had to take two steps forward to save 123. RIM Jong Sim (PRK) had to sit a couple of seconds in the low squat until her heels were flat on the floor before recovering with 123; she went three for three in the snatch.

Valentin Lydia (ESP) hopped back, not particularly low, to fix 124 on her third. Using a lot of back and no foot movement, KANG Yue (CHN) dropped 126 in front. Jumping six kilos, KIM Un JU (PRK) sat low and had to step back but saved 126. Yevstukhina Nadezhda (RUS) made a nice Russian pull and just did not snatch 126. KANG Yue (CHN) dropped 126 for the second time.

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Yevstukhina Nadezhda (RUS) Charniga photo.

Yevstukhina Nadezhda (RUS) hopped back slightly, having to run three steps forward to save 126. Facing elimination, KANG Yue (CHN) managed to fix 126 in a low squat to remain in the competition. KIM Un JU (PRK) tried to pull 127 so as not to miss, but she did just that.

Valentin Lydia (ESP) cleaned 140 well, jerking it solidly with a wide hand spacing. RIM Jong Sim (PRK) bounced twice with 147 before taking her time to get set for a fast and a little uncoordinated jerk. Valentin Lydia (ESP) tried to step under her second jerk with 147 but dropping the barbell forward. She went to 148 and, despite a not too strenuous clean, she made the same mistake by dropping the weight after several steps forward. KANG Yue (CHN) cleaned 151 with no foot movement, split fast and wide for a good jerk. Up until six weeks prior, Yevstukhina Nadezhda (RUS) was the world record holder in the clean and jerk with 163. Opening with 153 she did a Russian high pull, jumped forward failing to shoulder the weight.

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KANG Yue (CHN). Charniga photo

RIM Jong Sim (PRK) pulled smoothly, bouncing three times in the low squat before recovering to jerk with a wide, fast split. Yevstukhina Nadezka (RUS) did another high pull and hop forward miss with 153. She managed to shoulder the weight and recover walking forward before making a solid wide split jerk to avoid elimination.

Opening with a very safe 154 for the world record holder at 164, KIM Un JU (PRK) cleaned from a low squat starting position, jerking the weight after barely pausing to get set. KANG Yue (CHN), who had cleaned a world record 164 six weeks earlier, cleaned 155 with no foot movement, split fast and wide only to drop it and then walked off limping. She passed her third attempt.

With only the two North Koreans left, RIM Jong Sim (PRK) had to bounce four to five times to get up with 156 before jerking too far forward. Already the champion, KIM Un JU (PRK), not quite focused, failed to shoulder 157. She came back to make an easy lift against a tough field, even though none of the Europeans would have remotely been able to stay with her six weeks earlier.

+75 kg Class

The pretenders of this class were: Kashirina Tatiana (RUS), MENG Suping (CHN), Pulsabsakul Chitchanok (THA), Khenjantuek Praeonapa (THA).

Khenjantuek Praeonapa (THA) first attempt was a good 120 with a slight hop backwards. Her second with 124 showed good coordination for such a big athlete. Pulsabsakul Chitchanok (THA), using a slightly narrow hand spacing, made a fast very easy lift with 124. Her second with 127 was almost over pulled; she managed to keep it under control. Khenjantuek Praeonapa (THA) pulled 128 up easily but was unable to settle into a low squat. MENG Suping (CHN), the former world record holder in the clean and jerk with 188 kg, made a very big hop back with 130. Pulsabsakul Chitchanok (THA) made her third with 132 showing good motor skills. MENG Suping (CHN) snapped 135 up, as well as her third with 140 with the best technique so far. Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) toyed with 145 then jumping to 152 made it, almost too easy, for a new world record. She actually had to work to get another world record 155 with a big hop backward, with a hint of press out.

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Kashirina Tatiana (RUS). Charniga photo

Pulsabsakul Chitchanok (THA) opened with a hop back 156 clean and a smooth efficient jerk. Khenjantuek Praeonapa (THA), the heaviest lifter of the ‘A’ session (133.21 kg), was able to take a normal hand spacing for the jerk because her body mass does not inhibit her joint mobility. She is able to rest the bar across the clavicles to prepare for the jerk. She made her 158 opener with a slight hop back, jerking with a shallow split. Pulsabsakul Chitchanok (THA), at 125 kg bodyweight, like her teammate is able to raise the barbell to her chest, conveniently resting it across her clavicles in preparation for the jerk. She managed her second at 159 with a little struggle in the jerk. Khenjantuek Praeonapa (THA) made another good attempt with 162, despite stumbling backward in the jerk. Pulsabsakul Chitchanok (THA) struggled to clean 163 and made a better effort to jerk it. Khenjantuek Praeonapa (THA) starting blacking out in the clean with 165 and made no attempt to jerk it.

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MENG Suping (CHN). Charniga photo

MENG Suping (CHN) cleaned 170 like a feather, jerking it with a fast wide split. An extremely easy stand up with her next at 180 was followed by another fast, wide split jerk. Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) pulled in 185 without bottoming out in the squat then jerked carefully to secure the gold. Taking another 10 jump to 190, MENG Suping (CHN) pulled the weight to her chest before dumping it forward. Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) cleaned a new world record 193 with no problem, jerking it a little slowly but nonetheless efficiently, to obliterate the total record from 334 to 348.

Of Wolves and Dogs
Food and Sleep versus Facebook

This section of competition reports has typically highlighted some feats of intestinal fortitude of the elite of weightlifting sport. The basic idea is to give to the average lifter a grasp of the dedication and commitment required to achieve a medal at the international level.

For instance, it is reasonable for someone competing in say the ‘C’ or even the ‘B’ session of the world championships to ask the question, how is it, some athletes, especially the medalists, are able to lift so many more kilos, even though we ‘C’ level lifters have the same body mass.

The most obvious answer to this perplexing question is that all men and women are not created equal in ability to do weightlifting, i.e., a question of genetic superiority.
Another answer would be differences in training methodology, the relative volume of loading, superior coaching and so forth.

However, if you happen to have good genetics, a good coach, modern training methodology and the like, one can still find oneself in the ‘C’ session, looking up at the ‘A’ session athletes.

A factor some may fail to take into consideration is the discipline that is part and parcel of the elite athlete’s force of will to achieve.

At the press conference of the 2014 World Weightlifting championships, DENG Mengrong (CHN) who won the gold in total without winning gold in either exercise, was asked “What are your hobbies?” She replied my hobbies are “food and sleep.”

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DENG Mengrong. Charniga photo

So let’s get this straight, food and sleep are necessary for life itself. Even assuming something may have been a little vague in the translation, if food and sleep are your hobbies, that leaves only breathing and weightlifting. And, that is not too farfetched because, typically members of the national team are not permitted to date; women are separated from men in the training areas; social interaction is very restricted.

DENG Mengrong was seen doing bend overs with a weight (back hyperextension) on the shoulders over one of the massage tables in the training hall. This is a sore – lumbar – back – exercise and not a good sign. If a sore lumbar area is the reason one does this movement, over the long term, it only makes the problem worse. After finishing the exercise, she assumed something like a fetal position while the coach inflicted a type of pounding massage to her lower back. Presumably, after the training, inclusive of back rehab, she found the time for her hobbies “food and sleep.”

Former world champion, until recently world record holder of the clean and jerk at 75 kg and a product of the Russian weightlifting school, N. Yevshtukhina, in contrast, is a star of social media. She failed to make a total in London. Here she narrowly missed another zero when she failed to even shoulder 153 twice which was 10 kg below her former world record. A simple comparison of this athlete, who has the genetics, presumably a product of the elite training methodology, what is believed to be modern technique, who should be at the peak of her athletic powers is easy.

The athlete whose hobbies are food and sleep has a narrow focus towards a single aim: to be a champion weightlifter. Her mind is not cluttered with superfluous social distractions. In the opposite case, unnecessarily clogging one’s head with a myriad of social media engagements, psychological distractions, when the aim is to be an Olympic champion, more often than not nullifies the genetic, the superior methodology and coaching advantages.

A genetically less gifted athlete, without the best weightlifting training methods, coach, or the best technique can overcome someone with those advantages through sheer force of will; that is only among ‘A’ session athletes. The difference between ‘C’ and ‘B’ is more a psychological than a physical leap and, likewise, an even larger leap from ‘B’ to ‘A’ with finally another psychological step to separate the medalists.

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