2018 World Weightlifting Championships: Part 1


2018 WWC report

Andrew Charniga


RIM Un Sim (PRK). Charniga photo.

The 2018 WWC were staged on the Olympic complex of the capitol of Turkmenistan Ashgabat. The return of the nine countries banned from competing swelled the entries to over six hundred and dramatically raised the level of competitiveness of all the weight classes. The entire competition housing training and competition hall was situated on the Olympic complex. Thanks to special arrangements there were virtually no empty seats for ‘A’ sessions. Schoolchildren and various non – working adults were brought in to fill arena seats.

The venue was first class. The most significant feature being the usual huge space between the front edge of the stage was greatly reduced; drawing the audience closer to the action. You really have to be close enough to feel the strain of weightlifting to appreciate what is happening. An announcer squealing “goooood lifffft’ after each attempt not only adds nothing; annoying over the course of the competition.

General impressions from training hall and competition venues Part 1.

The training is of course always a point of interest for the weightlifting aficionado. What was lacking here? A not so obvious dearth of any new ideas: training, technique; a general recognition that times have changed; the sport is evolving. One of the biggest gaps in the knowledge  base of weightlifting sport is the how and what to do as the body changes over time. How to tailor training is something not often taken into consideration even if the athlete is ‘only’ 29 years old. More about this in part 2.

The young athletes and coaches (especially those powerlifting and fitness coaches from the USA) ‘full of knowledge and expertise’ apply old ideas and techniques. A coach or athlete who attempts to apply powerlifting exercises and techniques to achieve good results in weightlifting is trying to pound a square peg in a round hole. This peg pounding has been tried for over fifty years with no sign in sight it could possibly work.

On the contrary, compelling evidence is available to demonstrate that powerlifting training and techniques are deleterious over time for athletes in dynamic sports: https://www.sportivnypress.com/2015/its-all-connected-part-iii-reverse-engineering-injury-mechanism/; https://www.sportivnypress.com/2014/there-is-no-system-part-i/

Consider the USA lifter, the coach of whom touts the effectiveness of these powerlifting techniques in his training; posted a video of himself cleaning 220 before the world championships. In Ashgabat he made one snatch (155) and one clean and jerk of 188 kg, i.e., some 32 kgs less than he cleaned. There is a reason they call it the clean and jerk: you have to lift the weight over your head after you lift it to your chest; were it otherwise, we would just call it the clean.

Modern weightlifting technique forces the lifter to execute high speed, multi – planer movement of his/her whole body through a large range of motion in the joints of upper and lower extremities. Conversely, powerlifting, which involves very slow, unidirectional movement of the body through a very small range of motion in joints; is utterly out of sinc in time and space relative to the requisites of the classic weightlifting exercises.

Over time these exercises and techniques can never transfer to improvement in the classic weightlifting exercises. You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. But that has not deterred the slow lifting (powerlifting is an oxymoron) folks from pounding away with those square pegs for more than fifty years.

However, that being said you don’t have to train for weightlifting incorporating powerlifting exercises to mess up your athlete. You can that with weightlifting exercises as well. This is especially pertinent as the athlete ages. More on this in part 2.

Sorab Moradi (IRI) had an impressive performance despite going all out at the Asian Games in August. One day I saw him walk into the training hall; had to look twice. He was wearing shorts, a too long tail of a t shirt and wearing glasses. At first glance he looked some ordinary Joe with a pot belly who unloads trucks or works in a brewery; samples too much of the merchandise. I would be shocked if anyone who did not know who he was could say from at a glance: there goes a world record holder and Olympic champion. That is the uniqueness of this sport that the crossfitters, football & powerlifting coaches cannot possibly comprehend in a million years. I had to ask myself “is that guy even an athlete”?

Yet Moradi had no trouble handling TIAN (CHN). TIAN missed the critical 3rd attempt jerk to move ahead after getting behind in the snatch.  It is one thing to do a push jerk in training or at a domestic meet without all the marbles on the line. But with all the pressure of a championship precision and perfect coordination is decisive. His teammate and fellow push jerker, LIU Xiaojun who won the 81 relies; on his big snatch and was rather lucky to beat the younger guys.




1st Sukcharoen Thunya (THA) 186 2nd Dzhumabayeva Yulduz 179 3rd Nanthawong Chiraphan (THA)  171


1st Pramongkhol Chayuttra (THA) 209  2nd  HOU Zhui (CHN) 208 3rd Jiang Huihua (CHN) 206

With two entries, this class appeared to be a sure gold for China. The Asian Games champion RIM Song Gum (PRK) fell by the wayside in the snatch. She was injured in Jakarta and looked worse here; none of her attempts were even close. You have to wonder why they even selected the 1st attempt 85 kg to begin with.

Pramongkhol Chayuttra (THA). Charniga photo

Of the leaders Pramongkhol Chayuttra (THA) hopped back; pausing before standing with 84. Pramongkhol Chayuttra (THA) dropped very fast with a slight hop back with 86. Jiang Huihua (CHN) smoothly pulled in 87 low; hopping back slightly. HOU Zhihui (CHN) pulled in 88 easily without sitting particularly low. Pramongkhol Chayuttra (THA) had to sit briefly in a very low squat to fix 89 for her third good lift. Pulling back, hopping back and sitting almost to the floor Jiang Huihua (CHN) made very efficient lift with 90.  HOU Zhihui (CHN) pulled too long and sat to high; missing 92. Jiang Huihua (CHN) made another very low squat, stable lift, with 92. HOU Zhihui (CHN) pulled too long and sat too high yet nonetheless managing to muscle up 93.

Jiang Huihua (CHN). Charniga photo.

The misses in the jerk in this class started at just over 200%; virtually all missed forward. HOU Zhihui (CHN) opened with 108; an easy clean an abbreviated, shallow split. Jiang Huihua (CHN) took the same weight seeming to jerk it easy, but her arms immediately unlocked dropping the weight back. Employing a preliminary heel raise at the start of the jerk Tanasan (THA) made 108 very easy. Another very smooth hop back clean for Jiang Huihua (CHN) with 108; this time she fixed the barbell overhead. HOU Zhihui (CHN) hopped back to clean 112; making another shallow split, muscle jerk.  Jiang Huihua (CHN) hopped back siting low with 114; paused before jerking, pausing briefly in the low split for balance.

Sitting four kg back of the Chinese, Pramongkhol Chayuttra (THA) opened with 115 hopping back in the clean; splitting wide and very fast to jerk.  HOU Zhihui (CHN) made another strong clean with 115 followed by a high split, rahter sloppy jerk to move into first. Pramongkhol Chayuttra (THA) now appeared for the winning weight of 120. After a strong stand up; she jerked this huge 245% of bodyweight slightly forward; compensating with a very fast, very wide split; effectively pushing aside the mighty Chinese.


1st  Srisurat Sukanya (THA) 232  2nd  LI Yajun (CHN) 225 3rd Zhang Wanqiong (CHN) 225

Two lifters in this session were returning from suspension: Iovu (ROU) and Chinshanlo (KAZ); both of whom seemed reasonably fit, just rusty due to their absence from big international competitions. Of the three medalists Zhang Wanqiong (CHN) appeared first with a smooth hop back lift at 96. LI Yajun (CHN) whose best result in the past had been a 106 snatch in the Chinese National Games made a slow, hop back lift with 97. IOVU Christina (ROU) had to sit very low and pause before rising to get her 2nd at 97. Zhang Wanqiong (CHN) took a three kilo jump to 99 hopping back and sitting very low. LI Yajun (CHN) also jumped 3 kg to 100 for another slow pull, slow drop, hop back lift. IOVU Christina (ROU) seemed to pull well with 100; leaving it too far in front.  

LI Yajun (CHN. Charniga photo

Srisurat Sukanya (THA) started with an easy 101 sitting slowly to the bottom after passing parallel in the THAI zero to minimal foot movement style of dropping under the barbell. Zhang Wanqiong (CHN) hopped back and dropped very low with 101. LI Yajun (CHN) pulled faster and dropped faster than her previous for a good 102. Srisurat Sukanya (THA) pulled 103 fast, struggling to gain balance in the low squat. Her 3rd with 105 looked the same with the same struggle at the bottom for balance. She moved into a 3 kg lead over LI.

Zhang Wanqiong (CHN. Charniga photo

Barely moving her feet, LI Yajun (CHN) muscled her 1st c&j with 117. Zhang Wanqiong (CHN) followed with an easy shallow split 118. LI Yajun (CHN) muscled her 2nd jerk with 121. Srisurat Sukanya (THA) made an effortless wide split jerk after catching the clean high and riding it to just below parallel. Zhang Wanqiong (CHN) muscled her 2nd jerk a little with 122, without splitting wide. IOVU Christina (ROU) sat back struggling to stand before splitting fast to earn a bronze medal with 123. LI Yajun (CHN) slowly muscled the clean and muscled the jerk with 123. Zhang Wanqiong (CHN) had to step forward in the recovery from the clean with 124 before jerking a little forward with a fast split.  Srisurat Sukanya (THA) did another power, sit – into – squat clean and another powerful wide split jerk with 125. Struggling to clean 127 Srisurat Sukanya (THA) performed a very sloppy jerk; initially turned down with 127 but over turned for a good lift.  


1st KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) 237 2nd CHEN Guiming (CHN) 231  3rd Koha Rebecca (LAT) 227

Koha Rebecca (LAT) opened with an easy 98 without pausing in the low squat. CHEN Guiming (CHN) followed with the same, almost losing the weight backwards. Klestina Natalia (RUS) missed her third with 98; yet dislocated her elbow on her fourth attempt with 99 after an officiating error granted her the fatal extra try.  The Asian Games champion at 58 KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) made an effortless no foot movement opener with 100. Koha Rebecca (LAT) fixed 102 shaking in the low squat; turned down for a press out. Taking a questionable 5 kg jump CHEN Guiming (CHN) sat low with 103, losing it backwards. KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) made another easy hop forward lift with 103. Koha Rebecca (LAT) hopped back sitting low and pausing in the low squat made her 3rd with 103.

CHEN Guiming (CHN) hopping well back was not even close with 103. KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) moved into first with her 3rd 105; another easy lift made after two increments of 3 and 2 kg.

CHEN Guiming (CH). Charniga photo

Koha Rebecca (LAT) made an easy opener with 117. She followed this with another good 121 after a slight struggle in the recovery. She jerked with a fast wide split to fix her 3rd with 124; after a struggle to clean. KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) hopped forward to clean 128 jerking it with a wide fast split.  CHEN Guiming (CHN) hopped back quite a bit to easily clean 130 followed by a fast wide split jerk. Uncharacteristically for her,  KUO Hsing – Chun (TPE) struggled to stand with 132 before making an uncoordinated attempt to jerk it. She struggled more to clean 3rd with 132; almost losing the weight off her chest. She jerked this weight forward; managing to eventually step under it for a good lift. Down 7 kg after the snatch CHEN Guiming (CHN) chose 133 for gold in the jerk. Another strong hop back clean; a rather long pause in the start with bent knees before executing a wide powerful split. She jumped to 140 for the gold in total. She cleaned this weight with strength to spare; waiting for relatively long period; shaking from the oscillating barbell she split wide to jerk, sinking low before dropping the weight forward.    


1st   DENG Wei (CHN) 252 2nd RIM Un Sim (PRK) 239 3rd  Wamalun Rattanawan (THA) 239

RIM Un Sim (PRK) made 109 and 137 to win the 69 kg class at the Asian Games in August. She reduced bodyweight to compete here at 64. She hopped back without stopping in the bottom for a very easy 105. LIN Tzu – Chi (TPE), the 2014 Asian Games champion at 63 kg lifted here. However,  shortly afterwards her appeal to the CAS for a 2016 positive test was denied and her results were nullified. RIM Un Sim (PRK) had 109 up sinking low but dropped it behind. The 3rd was an identical drop behind miss. Olympic champion DENG Wei (CHN) started with a not even close drop forward 110. She flipped this weight up very fast on her 2nd.

DENG Wei (CHN. Charniga photo

The Asian Games champion in the absence of DENG Wei, KIM Hyo Sim (PRK) came out for 111. She dragged the weight up without being close to fixing it; then limped off the platform. She pulled faster with the same weight on her next two attempts; the third being closer; still a miss.  DENG Wei (CHN) took a modest 2 kg jump to 112 making a very solid fast lift.

The sister of Olympic champion RIM (PRK), RIM Un Sim (PRK) hopped back and jerked 130 slightly forward; stepping under it. Wamalun Rattanawan (THA) buried in 7th after the snatch, made an easy opener with 131. Struggling to stand with 134 RIM Un Sim (PRK) made a much faster, powerful jerk.

DENG Wei (CHN) also struggled to stand with her opener 135; jerked it well. Wamalun Rattanawan (THA) cleaned with a slight hop forward; took several steps to control her jerk with 135. RIM Un Sim (PRK) was unable to stand with 137. Wamalun Rattanawan (THA) made a fast recovery from a no foot movement clean; sinking low with a bent back leg to jerk 137. This is the same athlete who could not jerk 133 in August at 63 kg. DENG Wei (CHN) managed 138 with a slightly forward jerk on her second to secure the gold. After quite a struggle in the recovery from the clean; DENG made several adjustments of the barbell at the chest so was able to jerk 140.  


1st ZHANG Wangli (CHN) 267 2nd AMAD Sara (EGY) 252 3rd Likhacheva Nadezda (KAZ) 242

Of the leaders AMAD Sara (EGY) opened first with a hop back, fast, low squat with 105. Likhacheva Nadezda (KAZ), suffered a nasty shoulder separation in 2014 competing for Russia at the European championships. Representing Kazakhstan at this championships, she pulled fast and dropped very fast under 105. ZHANG Wangli (CHN) hopped back 5 – 6 cm with her opener of 108. AMAD Sara (EGY) pulled 110 in easily only to lose it backward after struggling for balance for several moments.

Likhacheva Nadezda (KAZ. Charniga photo. 

Likhacheva Nadezda (KAZ) dropped bullet like under 110; feet pretty much staying in line. AMAD Sara (EGY) sat low, pushing the bar back to fix her balance before recovering with 111. Ms. Blinding speed, Likhacheva Nadezda (KAZ), flew under 112 to move temporarily into first. ZHANG Wangli (CHN) hopped back under 113, not particularly fast; sitting very low. Lifting at the same mechanized speed and effort of her first, ZHANG Wangli (CHN) went into the lead with another easy lift at 115.

AMAD Sara (EGY). Charniga photo

Likhacheva Nadezda (KAZ) cleaned 130 well; started to black out, unable to jerk it. She repeated with the same weight; this time jerking without pause in the start. AMAD Sara (EGY) hopped back with 136 jerking it easily in a wide split. Likhacheva Nadezda (KAZ) cleaned 136 well; making a utterly uncoordinated effort to jerk. ZHANG Wangli (CHN) made an effortless clean and jerk with 140. AMAD Sara (EGY) struggled to stand with 141; pausing some seconds she jerked with a fast, wide split. ZHANG Wangli (CHN) made another almost effortless clean with 148; struggling a little to jerk it. Another effortless clean with 152 by ZHANG Wangli (CHN), jerked forward; took two steps to move under it.  


1st  WANG Zhouyu (CHN) 270 2nd RIM Jong Sim (PRK) 269 3rd Dajomes Patricia (ECU) 259

This class featured two – time Olympic champion RIM Jong Sim (PRK) this year’s Asian Games champion. Several athletes entered in this class jumped to the 81 kg in the hopes of placing higher by avoiding the competitiveness in this class.

Wearing a large yellow head band and two different color shoes Dajomes Patricia (ECU) hoped back without fully hitting bottom with 111. WANG Zhouyu (CHN) almost stopped at parallel; 113 forcing her into a full squat. RIM Jong Sim (PRK) hopped back, stood up shaking with 115. Dajomes Patricia (ECU) hopped back, feet landing asymmetrically, with 115. Her third with 117 was a very easy lift; kilos to spare. WANG Zhouyu (CHN) pulled 118 high, slowly sinking into a full squat. RIM Jong Sim (PRK) squatted awkwardly under 119 sinking into a very low squat. Her 3rd with121 was up; but dropped behind.  WANG Zhouyu (CHN) tried to sink low with 122; unable to find balance as she lost it back.

RIM Jong Sim (PRK) struggles to hold 153 kg. Charniga photo

Dajomes Patricia (ECU) opened with 137 for an easy clean and excellent fast jerk. WANG Zhouyu (CHN) stopped 140 at parallel jerking with a bent rear leg in shallow split. Dajomes Patricia (ECU) struggled through the top of the recovery from the clean; jerked fast and wide with 142. RIM Jong Sim (PRK) bounced several times in the squat before jerking 145 in a wide split. Struggling to power clean as the barbell pushed her to parallel, WANG Zhouyu (CHN) jerked a not so easy 146. 

MUN Winhee (KOR). Charniga  photo

Dajomes Patricia (ECU) stood to above parallel in the recovery with 146 before being pushed back down. She then bounced to a stand up but was hopelessly, too fatigued to jerk it.  RIM Jong Sim (PRK) pulled 150 smoothly, bounced twice then made a very shaky jerk with 150. WANG Zhouyu (CHN) powered 152 well above parallel shaking as the weight pushed her down to about parallel. Despite the struggles in the clean she managed to find the energy to make her best jerk of the day; moving into first place.  RIM Jong Sim (PRK) cleaned 153 with three bounces at the bottom; seemed to jerk it well; but, periously lost her balance and fell backwards very much like she did in Houston in 2015. 


81 kg

1st  Valentin Lydia (ESP) 249 2nd Naumava Darya (BLR) 245 3rd    Salazar Tamara (ECU) 242

This class filled up to 22 lifters with a number of women who weighed just over 76 kg. Although it is of course too early to make judgements; this class appears to be a spillover division where the results are significantly lower,  relative to the lighter classes.

For instance, here are the winning totals of the following classes:

64 kg – 262; 71 kg – 267; 76 kg – 270 and 81 kg – 249, 87 kg – 268. So, DENG Wei (CHN) could have won the 81 kg class as could the gold medalist of the next two classes. This situation where athletes jump around to find a better chance to place higher will be probably become a common feature with the new weight classes. The number of female heavy classes: 76, 81, 87 and +87 is not only excessive it is counterproductive to the interest level of the lifting fan.

Why watch someone bigger and heavier lift less than someone smaller and stronger?

A similar situation occurred during the ten weight class period of the men. There wasn’t a big difference between 90 & 100 and 110 kg results.

87 kg

1st     AO Hui (CHN) 268 2nd KIM UN Ju (PRK) 263 3rd Santana Dominga (DOM) 254

Although the winning total in this class would have only won the 71 kg class, the result could have easily been higher. This is another of the new classes which lacks a scientific basis.

KIM UN Ju (PRK) the 2014 Asian Games champion and former world record holder in the C&J at 75 kg was competing in this class after a two – year suspension dating back to the 2014 WWC. She snatched 108 on her 1st shaking a little for balance. Both AO Hui (CHN) and Santana Dominga (DOM) opened with easy lifts at 110. Starting from a full squat KIM UN Ju (PRK) hopped back with her 2nd 111. Santana Dominga (DOM) made another easy hop backwards snatch with 113. AO Hui (CHN) struggled at the bottom a bit with the go ahead 114. KIM UN Ju (PRK) pulled 115 overhead easily, losing it behind. Santana Dominga (DOM) hopped back sitting very low; struggling for balance before recovering with 116. AO Hui (CHN) muscled up a no foot movement 117 to move into first place.

Santana Dominga (DOM) hopped back struggling for balance with 138; the resulting fatigue precluded her from jerking the weight. She hopped back repeating with 138 this time making an uncoordinated effort to jerk. She finally managed to jerk the 138 after the hardest clean of her three.

KIM UN Ju (PRK). Charniga photo

AO Hui (CHN) cleaned 142 with no trouble; executing a fast jerk. Opening with 145 the former world record holder with 164 kg at 75 kg KIM UN Ju (PRK) made and easy clean; without pausing, a fast jerk. AO Hui (CHN) pulled in 148 stopping at the bottom made another fast easy jerk. KIM UN Ju (PRK) went to 150 hopping back slightly; sticking slightly at the top of the recovery; executed another, no pause dynamic jerk. AO Hui (CHN) did another pull, sit, front squat clean technique with 151; another easy jerk. KIM UN Ju (PRK) cleaned 152 easier than her 150 and once again executed a no pause, elasto – dynamic – inertia jerk for gold in this exercise.

+87 kg

1st Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) 330  2nd MENG Suping (CHN) 327 3rd Chadee Duangaksom (THA) 296

With the exception of the top four; the other 21 lifters in the field snatched less than bodyweight. Chadee Duangaksom (THA) hopping back, sitting fairly low and pausing for balance, smoothly and efficiently snatched 120, 125 and 129. The second lightest in the entire class KIM Kuk Hyang (PRK) was one of the best technicians making three to finish with 130.

MENG Suping (CHN) hopped back without bottoming out, or pausing, easily snatched 135. Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) the holder of the old world record hopped back and dropped fast with her first at 140. Dropping fast and sitting low with asymmetrical shifting of her feet, MENG Suping (CHN) made an easy 140. Her 3rd if anything, was the easiest lift of the three; hopping back without pausing in the low squat. Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) hopped back ‘expecting’ the 145 to reach arms’ length; but she could not fix it overhead. She made the correction on her 3rd with the same weight, accentuating turning the bar over as she dropped into a low squat. KIM Kuk Hyang (PRK) started with 160; Chadee Duangaksom (THA) selected 162; both made their openers with contrasting techniques.

KIM Kuk Hyang (PRK). Charniga photo.

KIM (97.64 kg) split fast and wide with little involvement of her arms; whereas Chadee (113.70) muscled the weight up with less power from the legs. This is what one would expect when one athlete is lifting considerably more than bodyweight in comparison with the other. Kuk Hyang (PRK) struggled to stand with 165 but whipped the weight overhead with fast foot movement in the jerk. Chadee Duangaksom (THA) pulled, sat, front squatted 167; then, muscled the jerk forward; still good. Kuk Hyang (PRK) cleaned 168 easier than her previous two, whip jerked it only to lose the excessively oscillating barbell. Chadee Duangaksom (THA) hopped back with 170; this time she could not overcome a too far forward barbell in the jerk.

MENG Suping (CHN) cleaned 175 easy enough; jerkied sloppy having to step forward to save it. Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) hopping back with 178; she executed a not very fast; nevertheless, textbook jerk. She moved to 182; struggling to get the weight behind her head in the jerk; after a harder clean. MENG Suping (CHN) muscled up 184 to her chest before making another forward, sloppy jerk.  Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) strugged at the top of the recovery with 185; this time she was mindful to split wide and return her feet carefully to overcome barbell vibration. MENG Suping (CHN) bounced in the low full squat, start position, to pull 188; recovering well; but the successive sloppy, forward jerks would not work with this weight.