The 2018 IWF World Championships kicks off today, 1 November in Ashgabat with a grandiose Opening Ceremony at 6 PM local time.
With the newly published Start List, we can have a few guesses who we should keep an eye on during the 10-day long event, although picking the most interesting competitions isn’t easy, as 604 athletes, 283 women and 321 men from 88 countries put their skills on the measure in Ashgabat, including more great lifters than we can list.
In the women’s 45kg we might crown a Thai lifter, as Junior World Champion NANTHAWONG Chiraphan and the two times Senior World Champion, SUKCSAROEN Thunya, are looking for another World title.
It would be surprising to see new names conquer the 49kg bodyweight category as the 2016 Olympic Champion and 2017 World Champion TANASAN Sopita (THA) will be there to win it all. If VUONG Thi Huyen can defeat her, she can become the first woman from Vietnam to win a world title in weightlifting. She has already won the most medals at the world championships among women in Vietnam.
Another prominent Thai lifter will compete in the 55kg category: SRISURAT Sukanya, Rio 2016 Olympic Champion in the 58kg bodyweight category. Olympic Silver medallist in the 53kg, DIAZ Hidilyn (PHI), certainly aims to upgrade her medal earned in Rio.
In the 59kg, one of the favorites will be KUO Hsing–Chun (TPE), sixth at the 2012 Olympic Games and third in Rio, Asian Champion, Universiade Champion and also World Champion. Silver medallist in the 58kg bodyweight category in Rio, SIRIKAEW Pimsiri (THA) also has good chances, just like the continuously improving KOHA Rebeka (LAT) (still only 20 years old), European and Junior World Champion this year, fourth at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Two lifters from Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea are to watch in the 64kg’s: this year’s Asian Games champion KIM Hyo Sim and RIM Un Sim, Junior World Champion two years ago. DENG Wei (CHN) the absolute champion – Youth Olympic Gold, Youth, Junior and Senior World Champion three times will be the one to watch.
An outstanding lifter in the 71kg will be the Egyptian AHMED Sara Samir Elsayed Mohamed, Junior World Champion, and Bronze medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Crowds favourite ROGERS Martha Ann (USA), who ranked third in Anaheim last year has also good medal hopes.
The medal favourite in the 76kg bodyweight category is two times Olympic Champion, RIM Jong Sim (PRK). 2017 World Champion SOLIS ARBOLEDA Leidy Yessenia (COL) and DAJOMES BARRERA Neisi Patricia (ECU), three times Junior World Champion might be in the Medal Tally as well.
The Spanish legend, who has an Olympic Medal of every color (Gold Silver and Bronze), World Champion and four-times European Champion, VALENTIN PEREZ Lidia decided to go up to the 81kg bodyweight category from the 75kg previously existing category. It is announced to be a great show between VALENTIN and medal contenders like ARTHUR Jenny Lyvette.
In the 87kg, three lifters might battle for the Title: VALDES PARIS Maria Fernanda (CHI), KIM Un Ju (PRK) and the Chinese lifter AO Hui, whose last international result was at the 2015 Junior Asian Games, where she was champion.
The +87kg offers one of the greatest returns: Russian KASHIRINA Tatiana, missing Rio. Besides her Silver Medal from London 2012, she is 7 times European Champion and 4 times World Champion. It is unlikely anyone will challenge her for the gold medal.
In the Men’s 55kg, it will be difficult for anyone to defeat OM Yun Chol (PRK), Gold Medallist in London and silver in Rio. He was crowned World Champion three times.
A much tighter gap is to be expected in the 61kg as 2017 World Champion MOSQUERA VALENCIA Francisco Antonio (COL) (in the 62kg), last year’s World Champion THACH Kim Tuan (VIE) (in the 56kg) and of course IRAWAN Eko Yuli (INA) two times Olympic Bronze Medallist and Silver Medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will all be going for the title.
The entries predict an Uzbek-Korean-Columbian battle in he 67kg. Guess who might come out World Champion from YOKUBOV Doston (UZB), LEE Sangyeon (KOR) and FIGUEROA MOSQUERA Oscar Albeiro (COL).
A close competition is also predicted in the 73kg bodyweight category with names like RI Chong Song (PRK), CALJA Briken (ALB), RAHIMOV Nijat (KAZ) and O KANG Chol (PRK). The two times Youth and three times Junior World Champion CUMMINGS JR Clarence (USA) will also join the trio with good chances for a medal.
KARAPETYAN Andranik (ARM), MAHMOUD Mohamed Ihab Youssef Ahmed (EGY) and ULANOV Denis (KAZ) are all listed to compete in the 81kg. MAHMOUD won the Bronze Medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 77kg bodyweight category, while KARAPETYAN piled up some European Championships medals. ULANOV – in the previous 85kg category – was bronze medallist at the 2016 Olympics.
There are some prominent athletes competing in the 89kg category as well. For example, the one winning the first ever World Championships gold for Chile, MENDEZ PEREZ Arley, and OKULOV Artem (RUS) as well, who was World Champion three years ago. It is worth to mention the 2018 European and Junior World Champion DAVITADZE Revaz (GEO).
World Record holder MORADI Sohrab in the 96kg bodyweight category should win however a special mention has to be made as ELBAKH Fares Ibrahim (QAT), Junior World Champion and RIVAS MOSQUERA Jhonatan (COL), second at the 2018 Junior Worlds are also competing. Chinese TIAN Tao is also in the list and with a Silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, he also has high chances to win a medal.
2017 World Champion HASHEMI Ali (IRI) and CHUMAK Dymitro (UKR), Bronze Medal winner at the World Championships and Silver Medal winner at the European Championships will compete in the 109kg bodyweight category besides CHKEIDZE Irakli (GEO) – Youth and Junior World Champion. ILYN Ilya’s name is also on the 102kg list.
Olympic Champion in 2016, NURUDINOV Ruslan (UZB) will make his debut in the newly established 109kg bodyweight category. Sargis MARTIROSYAN (AUT) and Simon MARTIROSYAN (ARM) will be on the list of medal contenders with the long-standing Snatch World Record holder ARAMNAU Andrei (BLR).
Reigning Olympic World and European Champion in the super heavyweight, TALAKHADZE Lasha, wants to win the Championships in Ashgabat, but also prepares to set a new World Record. ALBEGOV Ruslan, also returning to the platform is the other lifter to watch in the+109kg.