The 2010 World Weightlifting Championships
Andew Charniga, Jr.
Sportivvny Press© 2010
The 2010 world weightlifting championships were held in Antalya, Turkey from September 17 to 27. This was the second time this competition has been staged in this city. The first was in 2001. Since it was the first of the two major qualification competitions for the London Games, there was a huge turnout with over 550 athletes competing.
There were 53 countries with a total of 312 lifters represented in the men’s competition. The corresponding figures for the women were 50 countries and 203 lifters.
The results of the team championships were the same as the past two years; China was in first place for both the men and women. However, the circumstances were quite different this year.
As usual the Chinese women sent a junior team or otherwise lower level group of lifters to compete in this senior championships. However, the men sent the usual ‘A’ team which provided the same team outcome as last year, but this year there was only one individual gold medallist for the men.
The performances of the women lifters were the highlight of this competition. The emergence of new champions among the men dethroned several of what seemed to be the invincible Chinese.
Taylan Nurcan (TUR) won the 48 kg class with 214, a significant improvement over her 2009 result of 205 kg. This included a new world record in the clean and jerk with 121 kg. The Chinese lifter WANG Mingjuan won the class in 2009 with strange result of 208 when her 118 clean and jerk was misloaded to 115.5 and she was given credit for only a 115 kg clean and jerk.
It is interesting to compare the results of Turcan, lifting in her home country, with respect to the entry from China, TIAN Yuan, and to compare her results relative to her past performances. In 2009 TIAN placed fourth at the Chinese national games with 93 snatch and 117 clean and jerk for 210 kg total at age 16 years. She cleaned 123 kg twice at this competition only to miss the jerk. At this year’s Youth Olympics she made 85 + 105 = 190 and 95 + 112 = 207.
Here in Antalya she did 88 + 116 = 204; in the process she established seven world youth records. These seven world records were set with this athlete lifting well within her abilities.
Taylan, the Olympic champion of 2004, broke the world record in the clean and jerk with a third attempt 121. Her immediate reaction was peculiar. Normally, male or female, a lifter who achieves such a result either jumps for joy, or in the case of most female lifters begins crying or runs into the arms of her coach.
Taylan, by contrast, began screaming, fists clenched with a stomping of her feet. It was not a celebration; it was more of a venting. A venting of frustration for many hundreds of years of the low status of women in her society. This long history of low status, which translates into few opportunities for social, economic, or professional upward mobility, was apparently a powerful motivator for this woman to achieve such a fantastic result six years after reaching the Olympic gold medal.
Taylan Nurcan (TUR) after clean and jerk world record with 121 kg. Charniga photos
This class was fairly representative of what was to come in the women’s classes. The home team took first and second; and, notwithstanding the great results achieved by Taylan, there are at least three Chinese 48s back in China capable of more. And, although seventeen year old TIAN established seven Youth world records, she was obviously capable of much more than she lifted with six, relatively easy, successful lifts.
It was last year’s runner up, CHEN Xiaoting’s “turn” to win the 53 kg class. The nineteen year old finished third at the 2009 Chinese National Games with 100 + 125 = 225. She mysteriously missed a 93 kg snatch twice before jumping to 95 last year in Goyang. This was after making three easy 90 kg snatches in the warm up room.
However, this year there were no slip ups. She made three easy lifts ending with 100 and selected just enough to win the gold medal in the clean and jerk.
For the most part when many people see the Chinese females lift on the competition platform and in the training hall at the world championships, they make an obvious connection between the exercises employed, i.e., the “routine” and the results. The assumption is simple: high pulls, muscle snatches, quarter squats, presses, and the myriad other assistance exercises are the secret behind their big results on the platform.
Furthermore, it is obvious many of the national teams of countries imitate or otherwise apply the Chinese methods. Some of the aforementioned exercises, albeit good for conditioning, may be at best counterproductive for their intended purpose.
For instance, in our report of the 2009 Chinese National Games we noted that many lifters appeared to be lifting longer, i.e., mimicking the high pull, instead of switching to the descent under the barbell sooner in both snatch and clean. There is an obvious negative carry over of motor habits from some of the assistance exercises to the competition exercises. At these national games, one young lady even went out and did three very nice Russian high pulls instead of three valid attempts in the snatch.
It may be a little less than obvious that just mimicking someone’s training regardless of how good he or she may be is what some teams like Thailand and others are doing and may not be getting the desired results because they do not see one of the Chinese “secrets” which is they, the Chinese, have many, many lifters.
The lifters at the 2009 Chinese National Games who pulled too long (mimicked the training exercises) did not do as well. Whereas, the lifters who did the best apparently followed the same training with the same exercises. However, they performed the snatch and the clean and jerk with a high level of technical proficiency. They did not do a pull and a drop for the clean or snatch or perform a quarter squat and push press for the jerk. All the assistance work they did with exercises that have a different motor pattern did not affect them. When they go to the platform, they can simply ‘switch off” the training and perform the snatch and clean and jerk with high mechanical proficiency.
CHEN Xiaoting (CHN) lifting in this class is a good example. Despite all the pulls she does before and after her competition in the training hall, her snatch in competition is performed with a very high proficiency. She descends under the barbell very fast (not a prolonged pull and drop). She also forces her body to squat down extremely low, almost to the point of touching the platform with her hips. She also employs the technique of many Chinese females in tilting her head far forward and looking straight down at the floor in the low squat position. This acts as a counterbalance for extra stability.
CHEN Xiaoting (CHN) snatches 100 kg in 53 kg. Charniga photo.
On other hand, a number of the lifters in this class and other weight classes mimic pulls and in most cases do not descend under the bar rapidly. Also, it is obvious they do power snatches and power cleans which, in some cases, results in a negative carry over and inhibits a rapid and low squatting under the barbell.
The 2010 Youth Olympic champion DONG Wei won this class but it appeared for a while the Chinese were waiting to see how PAK Hyon Suk (PRK) the Olympic champion would do. PAK was allowed to win gold in the snatch with 103 kg when DONG made only 102 after a miss. DONG did 110 + 130 = 240 kg at the 2009 Chinese National Games at age 16. Her results in Singapore earlier this year were 110 + 132 = 242, which easily overcame last year’s Senior World Champion Chinshanlo (KAZ) who competed in Singapore with a total of 225 kg.
DONG Wei (CHN) cleaning and jerking 131 kg 2nd attempt. Charniga photos.
After PAK was unable to make a clean and jerk, DONG, who started with only 120 kg, had a long time to wait to out lift the rest of the field. She managed to stay warm while she waited for the outcome in the clean and Jerk between PAK and Novikava (BLR). Her preparation for the clean and jerk is in the following table:
Alexandra Escobar (ECU) wearing no knee wraps, unlike most of the other South American lifters is able to
squat low with a maximum snatch. Charniga photo.
Table 1. The clean and jerk warm up and competition weights of DONG Wei (CHN) 58 kg at the 2010 World Weightlifting Championships
As you can see, DONG did nine lifts between her first attempt with 120 kg and her second attempt in the clean and jerk with 131 kg. She then managed to clean and jerk a new Youth world record of 135 without the slightest sign of fatigue. She is a lean and almost stringy looking athlete, but she is very flexible, very elastic. This lack of bulky muscles with a “stringy” physique is undoubtedly a factor behind such an astonishing display of endurance.
Maya Maneza (KAZ) repeated as the 63 kg class world champion with a new world record in the clean and jerk of 143 kg. Maneza won despite almost zeroing in the snatch with 105 kg. She was 7 kg behind the Chinese OUYANG Xiaofang and 6 kg behind Simsek of Turkey. Simsek missed her jerks with 135 and 136 kg, but it would not have mattered. OUYANG, who won the 2005 Chinese National Games at 63 kg with 120 + 140 = 260 kg and placed 2nd at 63 kg in the 2009 Chinese National Games with 122 + 143 = 265, “politely” stopped at 112 kg in the snatch and 129 kg in the clean and jerk to place third behind Simsek with the same 241 kg total. Once again a member of the home team got a ‘bye’ for a higher medal.
MANEZA (KAZ) 63 kg cleans and jerks world record 143 kg. Charniga photos.
OUYANG (CHN) 63 kg cleans a little more than snatch weight. Charniga photo.
LIU Xia (MAC) placed ninth in this class representing Macau. She lifted for China at the 2002, 2003, and 2005 World Championships and placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively at these competitions. Older, but not as lean, LIU still lifted with the good technique that she had at those championships.
The Columbian lifters who competed in this class (one in the A and one in the B session) were a good example of what was noted earlier. Both were very strong but either lacked flexibility or just performed permutations of the training exercises such as the power snatch and power clean on the competition platform. As a result, considerable potential went unrealized.
In the absence of LIU Chunhong (CHN), Oxana Slivenko (RUS), and others, the 2009 World Championships sixth place finisher, Svetlana Shimkova (RUS), won the 69 kg class with 116 + 140 = 256 kg; this was quite an improvement over her results of last year: 105 + 132 = 237 kg.
The 2010 Junior World Champion KANG Yue placed second with 113 + 140 = 253 kg. Here are some of KANG’s results leading up to this competition: 2009 Chinese National Games 120 + 145 = 265; 2010 JWC 111 + 140 = 251.
KNAG (CHN) snatches 85 warm up. Charniga photo
KANG followed the same procedure as the Chinese females in the lighter classes; she opened with a relatively low weight, then went back to warming up, while the coaches decided what was needed for points. She either fell asleep or just did not concentrate on what were relatively light weights on two attempts: one in the snatch with 113 kg which was 13 minutes after and 8 kilos over her opener with 105 kg. The same thing happened in the clean and jerk when she missed her first jerk with 130 kg. Twenty minutes later she jerked 140 as if it were a warm up weight.
Olympic Champion CAO Lei CHN was not entered in the 75 kg class, but the level of competition was the highest it has been in years in this class. Three Russians Yevshtukina, Zabolotnaya and former Junior World Champion from Russia and last year’s gold medalist Podobodova of Kazakastan achieved very high results.
LI Xixia CHN made a half hearted effort to lift 113 kg on her first snatch. This is the young women who narrowly missed 127 kg snatch at the 2009 Chinese National Games. It was obvious even from her warm ups she was entered just to score some points and was not a factor.
Zabolotnaya RUS has recovered from knee surgery and was in excellent form. She missed a world record 133 kg on her second attempt but came back to make it on her third. She has begun using the heavy power lifting knee wraps to wrap her knees. This heavy wrapping affects not only the speed of the descent under the bar but the depth of squatting. You could see she made an extra effort to force herself into a deeper squat with the third attempt 133 kg which did not occur with the miss at 133 kg.
Zabolotnaya (RUS) forced herself into a very low squat despite heavy knee warps to make this world record snacth.
A similar problem occurred with Zabolotnaya’s third attempt at a world record in the clean and jerk. She was unable to secure the 163 kg at the chest. A faster and lower descent into the squat position, unencumbered by the bulk of the wrapping, probably would have allowed her to at least fix the weight at her chest.
The bulky knee wraps may have prevented Zabolotnaya (RUS) from fixing this 163 clean. Charniga photo.
The other Russian Yevshtukina, was also in very good condition but she seemed to have an attack of nerves on her 2nd and 3rd snatch attempts and her 2nd attempt in the clean and jerk. Otherwise it would have been a very tight competition between the two Russians and the Kazak.
Podobodova repeated last year’s performance by breaking all the world records and winning the gold. This year’s competition was much tougher than last year, which obviously contributed to her making big lifts. She is significantly leaner than when she competed at the 2004 European Championships and uses less flexibility than when she was younger. That is to say she fixes the barbell in the snatch almost at parallel and almost at parallel in the clean then descends a little lower, but not to the lowest possible squatting.
Podobodova (KAZ) snatches 130 kg. Charniga photo.
JANG Mi –Ran put up her lowest results in many years. Last year’s champion with a new world record in the clean and jerk, this year she just didn’t have it. She had complained already last year of being unable to concentrate on training because of all the attention from the media. This is not an exaggeration. A couple of days before her competition she got off the bus from the hotel to the competition site to find a TV camera in her face that followed her all the way into the training hall.
However, she is twenty seven years old and has been on top since 2006. Twenty seven is not old for a weightlifter but some of the signs of aging are beginning to appear. She has difficulty fixing the barbell overhead in the snatch and the jerk because her arms do not fully lock and she is losing some shoulder flexibility.
However, a bigger problem was the fact that she shifted her right foot backwards during the squat under the bar more than the left. This created an asymmetrical distribution of weight and difficult conditions under which to balance the barbell overhead. She overpowered her first attempt with 125 kg despite this major technical flaw, but she missed her second with 130 kg and was lucky to make this weight on her third. She had to use every bit of her strength to make her 179 kg third attempt clean and jerk for the silver medal.
JANG (KOR) missing 130 snatch from unenven placment of feet in squat. Charniga photos.
Tayana Kashirina won this class easily. She broke the junior and senior world records in the snatch with a third attempt 145 which was 7 kilos more than her result in Goyang, Korea, only ten months earlier. She has excellent technique and is very fast moving under the bar, especially in the snatch. Her technique in the clean and jerk is also excellent, but she missed the jerk on her last attempt.
MENG Suping (CHN) snatched the same 131 kg as in Goyang but upped her clean and jerk from 165 kg in Goyang to 179 for the gold medal in this lift. Khurshudyan (ARM) who lifted in Goyang at 75 and this year’s European Championships weighed 86.05 kg but seemed to struggle with weights she had lifted at 75 kg.
Kashirina (RUS) with world recor 145 kg snatch. Charniga photo.
The only repeat winners among the women were the two Kazaks, Maneza at 63 kg and Podobodova at 75 kg.