By Brian Oliver at the George R Brown Convention Center
The great Ilya Ilyin declined to compete at the 2015 IWF World Championships as he prepares for the Olympic Games next summer, but one of his training partners was expected to win the 94kg title, at which weight Ilyin won Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012.
The Kazakhstan pair Almas Uteshov and defending champion Zhassulan Kydyrbayev, who have been training with Ilyin, both entered a 405kg total but they finished second and third, beaten by Vadzim Sraltsou of Belarus.
“Ilya was watching on television and we will call him later,” said Uteshov, a former wrestler who came desperately close to victory. He was originally given his second snatch attempt of 180kg but the decision was overturned. If it had stood he would have had a total of 410kg. Straltsou won with 405kg.
“My coaches will review that on video,” he said. “I think the jury said my left elbow was not locked but I’m not sure.”
Straltsou was only sixth in the snatch but he made 230kg in clean & jerk. In the snatch seven lifters collectively made 13 attempts at 180kg or more and only two were successful. In the clean & jerk there were seven attempts at 230kg or better, and only two successes.
Straltsou, a 2006 junior world champion, said he had suffered elbow and knee injuries in the build-up to these Championships. “It was a long wait for this,” he said. “I am very happy.”
China’s Liu Hao failed with his fist five lifts and became the fourth Chinese male lifter to fail to register a total. That will affect their chances of sending a full men’s team of six to the Olympics.
There was, once more, better news for China in the women’s medal event. Xiang Yanmei had to go for a run to make the weight, then won a clean sweep of golds in the 69kg.
“At my first weigh-in I was 69.1kg, so I went for a run and kept running until I burned it off,” said Xiang, who eventually weighed in right on the mark at 69.0kg. She won with two lifts to spare from Zhazira Zhapparkul, of Kazakhstan, and Russia’s Anastasia Romanova.
“I had not been training very well before the Championships so I’m very pleased with that,” said Xiang, 23, the 2013 world champion and reigning Asian Games champion.
Zhapparkul had hoped for better – “I wanted a clean & jerk of 147-150” – and her 116-140-256 left her 7kg behind Xiang.
Zhapparkul’s Kazakh teammate Maiya Maneza, who is expected to drop back to 63kg to defend her Olympic title next summer, made only 100kg in the snatch but an impressive 135kg in the clean & jerk.
There were good performances from two 17-year-olds. Sara Ahmed, of Egypt, made a 245kg total and Ankhtsetseg Munkhjantsan, of Mongolia, made 243kg. PR Korea’s Ryo Un Hui, second in the snatch, had not been able to train properly because of an abdominal injury.