Lasha Talakhadze conquered his rivals with a phenomenal world record-breaking performance to wrap up an enthralling IWF World Championships at the Anaheim Convention Center in the United States.
In an event marked by the success of emerging weightlifting nations from Latin America and Africa – as well the end of a 23-year wait for a World Championships gold medal for the host country – a mesmerising display by Talakhadze provided a fitting conclusion on the final day of competition.
The Georgian was unstoppable in the snatch, adding 3kg to his previous world record with a lift of 220kg in the +105kg category, and produced six good lifts in the clean and jerk to set a new world record benchmark of 477kg for his total lift – some 23kg above his nearest challenger, Iran’s Saeid Alihosseini.
Also on a final day packed full of drama, Sarah Robles won the USA’s first gold medal at the World Championships since 1994 by sweeping to victory in the snatch, clean and jerk, and total score in the +90kg division.
After sending the partisan Anaheim crowd into a frenzy with a perfect six-for-six session, Robles told USAWeightlifting.org: “I felt really strong and I was so happy to do this in front of my mom, my team-mates and my country.”
Meanwhile Georgia’s Anastasiia Hotfrid made history by winning the first ever World Championships gold medal in the 90kg division and Spain’s Lidia Valentín followed up her third European Championships gold earlier this year with a first world title in the 75kg competition.
In the men’s 94kg category, Iran’s Sohrab Moradi followed up his Olympic gold in Rio with new world records in the clean and jerk (233kg) and in the total score (417kg) to register a whopping 29kg ahead of his nearest rival in the final standings.
However, there was a much tighter contest with Iran’s other gold medal at the World Championships, with just 5kg separating the top three on the podium in the men’s 105kg division. Ali Hashemi eventually prevailed with a total score of 404kg, holding off the challenges of Latvia’s Artūrs Plēsnieks (402kg) and Uzbekistan’s Ivan Efremov (399kg).
Emerging weightlifting nations came to the fore in a variety of the competitions in Anaheim, setting the foundations for further success on the global stage.
Arley Méndez secured Chile’s first ever medal at the World Championships by sweeping the board in the men’s 85kg category with clear victories in the snatch and clean and jerk.
Mohamed Ihab became Africa’s first world champion in a World Championships men’s event since 1984 with a dominant display in the 77kg division – a competition that also saw Harrison Maurus end a 20-year medal drought for the USA at the World Championships with a bronze in the snatch.
In the men’s 62kg, Francisco Mosquera claimed Colombia’s second ever gold at the World Championships, following in the footsteps of legend Oscar Figueroa, who retired after winning gold in the same division at the Rio Olympics last year.
For the first time in a decade, three different women won golds in the 69kg division. Romela Begaj emerged victorious in the snatch, becoming Albania’s first ever women’s world champion in weightlifting.