Europe Vs Asia
Andrew ‘Bud” Charniga
The small town of Forde, Norway nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains was an idyllic setting for this championships. Forde arguably hosted one of the very best if not the best European championships ever in terms of the location, the organization and just wonderful hospitality. Everything required was within easy access including a main training hall with 27 platforms. The venue was small; but perfect for this event with an intimate atmosphere. The highlight of the event was the +105 class where probably the best total of this year was made.
By contrast the ancient city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan hosted the Asian championships. Uzbekistan was until the break up of the Soviet Union a republic of the USSR. Like Forde the venue was excellent with training and competition in the same gymnasium. The +105 class with two Uzbek lifters was the highlight of this competition. Four men in the ‘A’ session made all six attempts including the two Uzbek lifters.
NGYEN Thi Thuy (VIE) TIAN Yayun (CHN). Charniga photos
The winning total in Europe of 182 would have taken only 10th place at the Asians. So, Europeans are not remotely competitive in this class. At the Asian championships world champion TAN Yayun competed in this class. No one else really had a chance. She made all three snatches ending (with for her) a modest 88 by moving her feet back and to the side so that they were almost under her hands. An easy clean jerk of 112 was enough to win easily.
The best of Europe was Cristina Iovu (ROM). She was observed in one of her final training sessions doing set after set of repetition power snatch. She has great speed and power but doing a lot of power snatches cements a habit to raise the barbell higher than necessary. The skill required to drop to a low squat and fix the barbell at a low height is not developed with power snatches. In the competition she made only her opener with 90 ceding gold to twelve years her junior, and, substantially weaker, Rebecca Koha (LAT).
The best Asian lifters were the two Chinese (who had competed at their nationals just days before) both totaled 211; so Iovu’s result would have gotten only third. However, the overall edge goes to Asia for greater technical efficiency over sheer power – especially in the clean jerk.
LI Ping (CHN). Charniga Photos
Boyanka Kostova power snatched and power cleaned her way to an easy 1st. However, the rest of the field was not impressive. Other than Kostova who had no technique in the jerk; Lepsa (ROM) was the only lifter whose jerk technique could be considered good. Two passed their third attempts in the jerk but five of the 10 ‘A’ session lifters failed to make a third attempt.
By contrast the 58 kg class of the Asian Championships featured three former world champions: LI Ping (CHN) and ZHOU Jun (CHN) and KUO Hsing – Chun(TPE). KUO and ZHOU made their 2nd attempts with 100 but LI, still the world record holder at 53 kg missed. She made this weight on her third by shifting her feet out such that they were almost under her hands. KUO And Zhou both had to sit briefly in the low squat to balance 103 before standing. LI Ping and ZHOU were lifting in their 2nd meet in less than two weeks, having gone head to head at their national championships.
ZHOU Jun (CHN). Charniga Photos
LI split wide for her first jerk with 125. ZHOU hoped forward and jerked forward but split wide to save 125. KUO paused briefly in the low split to make sure of her first with 128. LI split very wide with another good lift at 130 kg. ZHOU hoped forward and jerked with bent back leg her 2nd at 130. Obviously fresher form not having to compete within a two week span KUO cleaned 131 very easy and another easy jerk. LI Ping pulled 134 slow only to be pinned in the squat. ZHOU failed to make a successful jerk at her nationals cleaned 135 ok but jerked it with a bent rear leg such that the weight pushed her knee into the platform.
KUO made the easiest clean of the night with 135 only to jerk it forward but she ran under it before running out of platform.
A number of in this class was exhibited poor balance and technique in low squat snatch position: generally uncomfortable. The technique in the jerk from the chest in this class ranged from good, mediocre to clueless; with most being mediocre.
Not only were there were only eight lifters in this class it was lacking in depth. The Chinese entered CHEN Guiming who won their national championships just days before in the 58 kg class; jerking 134 in a battle for first. Consequently, they gave it to the Thai lifter Gulnoi Siripuch. CHEN power cleaned 121 on a second attempt in the clean and jerk before retiring. Gulnoi (THA) made five of six; unable to stand with 135 on her final attempt. The rest of the field in this class were for the most part slow, but flexible.
69 kg Women
Neither group of 69 kg women from Europe or Asia impressed except ZHANG Wangli (CHN) who made three easy hop back, low squat snatches up to 110. Then she performed three easy C+J to finish with 135; both snatch and jerk were the same weights she succeeded with a week earlier at the Chinese nationals.
Pachabut Darya (BLR) and Avdalyan Nazik (ARM) Charniga photos
Ahkmetova Diana (RUS and Khlestkinava Natalia (RUS) Charniga photos
Neither European nor Asian 75 kg class wasn’t much to write home about. The generally more successes in snatch means more than anything that these lifters (even the top ones) are lifting constitute a lesser proportion of body weight. Consequently, technical proficiency is deceiving because balance is less of a factor. The top results Asia 112 + 132 vs Europe – 115 + 135 were relatively low. Hotfrid (GEO) and Khurshudyan (ARM) made all six snatches and five jerks had by far the best motor skills of this class but the results were still rather low.
KIM Kuk Hyang (PRK) Charniga photos
Like the European +75 the top two lifters were generally lighter in body weight with better technique; but, the Asians surpassed the European results by far. Pulsabsakul Chitchanok (THA) 120.2 kg and KIM Kuk Hyang (PRK) 98.00 made five of six making 133 and 131 respectively; with generally good technique as opposed to a number of the heavier European lifters in this class whom employed body mass to overcome less than body weight. In the clean and jerk KIM and Pulsabsakul were only able to manage two attempts 160 and 155 respectively between them; nonetheless, far above Europe.