Sunday, June 23, 2024

The ten Finest Weightlifters of 2023

To nobody’s shock, 2023 ended up being an exceptional 12 months for weightlifting athletes and followers of the game alike. All eyes flip in direction of the ever-closer Olympic Video games subsequent summer time, however the battles held upon the competitors platform this 12 months will strongly affect who makes it to Paris. 

These 10 athletes stood out from the pack this 12 months. Some set brand-new world information, whereas others made their triumphant return to the barbell. And a few simply had one good day on the platform after one other. 

Finest Weightlifters of 2023

  1. Rahmat Erwin Abdullah
  2. Liu Huanhua
  3. Hampton Morris
  4. Olivia Reeves
  5. Staff North Korea
  6. Luo Shifang
  7. Mary Theisen-Lappen
  8. Sergio Massidda
  9. Ritvars Suharevs
  10. Liang Xiaomei

1. Rahmat Erwin Abdullah (73KG)

Followers of weightlifting first acknowledged Indonesia’s Rahmat Erwin Abdullah in the course of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. There, Abdullah debuted a aggressive oddity he’s since change into recognized for — successful medals and taking the rostrum from outdoors of the “A Group” (he received bronze in Tokyo from the Males’s 73-kilogram Group B).

Abdullah continued that behavior all through 2023, incomes a status inside weightlifting as one of many stealthiest and most deadly rivals within the males’s middleweight divisions. Abdullah additionally isn’t afraid to bounce round weight classes and compete in opposition to full-fledged 81-kilogrammers whereas weighing solely 75 or 76 kilograms himself:

[Related: Weightlifter Rahmat Erwin Abdullah (73KG) Jerks 200KG World Record From the B Group at 2022 World Championships]

Whereas his 2023 resume might paint him as an 81, relaxation assured that Abdullah will compete in Paris at 73 kilos. And, since Abdullah at present owns the clear & jerk world document in each the 73s and 81s (at 201 and 209 kilograms, respectively), he’s an early favourite for gold at subsequent 12 months’s Video games. 

2. Liu Huanhua (102KG)

Staff China is famend for its dominance in almost each facet of contemporary weightlifting (for instance, Chinese language girls at present maintain 11 senior world information and, at one level in 2022, had claimed all of them throughout each weight class save for one or two holdouts).

However the nation has lengthy struggled to supply that type of guaranteed-gold-medal athlete within the males’s heavyweights — till Liu Huanhua got here alongside. Lovingly nicknamed “the Gigachad” by followers, Huanhua is China’s newest prodigy within the 102-kilogram Olympic class. In 2023 alone, he ranked:

[Read More: The Heaviest Clean & Jerks Ever Filmed]

As he’s moved up in weight, his efficiency has jumped accordingly. Huanhua’s finest results of the 12 months was on the nineteenth Asian Video games, the place he set unofficial world information within the clear & jerk (233 kilograms) and Whole (418 kilograms). Huanhua, although, should proceed to advance his place if he needs to persuade his nation that he’s worthy to take one among solely three male athlete slots for Paris. 

3. Hampton Morris (61KG)

Hampton Morris hasn’t had a foul 12 months but. Since he actually kicked off his worldwide profession for the States in 2021, the 19-year-old has made it to the rostrum at each competitors he’s attended, barring two.

All through his frequent aggressive appearances, Morris has racked up extra Youth and Junior titles (and world information) than he is aware of what to do with. This 12 months, his highest accomplishment but went hand-in-hand with one among his lowest.

[Related: Weightlifter Hampton Morris (61KG) Unveils Unofficial 176-Kilogram World Record Clean & Jerk]

On the 2023 World Weightlifting Championships, Morris bombed out in the course of the snatch portion of the Males’s 61-kilogram Group A, failing to register a profitable elevate. However in the course of the clear & jerks, Morris returned in pressure to win the gold medal with a 168-kilogram elevate. 

Not solely did Morris edge out the present Olympic Champion, Li Fabin of China, however he additionally broke a longstanding document: No American male had received a gold medal on the World Championships within the final 51 years.

4. Olivia Reeves (71KG)

There’s been a battle raging within the girls’s 71-kilogram class for the previous few years. Tokyo 2020 silver medalist Kate Vibert-Davis, 2021 World Champion Meredith Alwine, and 2021 Junior World Champion Olivia Reeves have been going head-to-head for the highest spot in the usA.

However as 2023 involves an in depth, it’s turning into clear that Reeves is a lower above her competitors. The 20-year-old sensation confirmed that she may grasp with one of the best on the earth when she positioned 2nd on the 2023 IWF Grand Prix II with a fully monstrous 262-kilogram Whole and a number of Junior world information. Right here’s a portrait of her development within the final 12 months alone:

  • 2022 World Weightlifting Championships: 245-kilogram Whole 
  • 2023 Pan-American Championships: 247-kilogram Whole
  • 2023 Grand Prix I: 241-kilogram Whole
  • 2023 World Weightlifting Championships: 253-kilogram Whole
  • 2023 Grand Prix II: 262-kilogram Whole

[RelatedAmerican Weightlifter Olivia Reeves (71KG) Sets Multiple New Junior World Records at IWF Grand Prix II]

Reeves’ efficiency on the Grand Prix II additionally netted her all three Junior world information within the 71-kilogram division. At Tokyo in 2021, the successful Whole within the 76-kilogram class (which received’t be held in Paris subsequent 12 months) was 263 kilograms by Ecuador’s Neisi Dajomes. If her trajectory continues, Reeves is heading for the Olympic platform. 

5. Staff North Korea

It could come as a shock to study that the Democratic Folks’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is extra profitable in Olympic lifting than every other Video games-recognized sport, and by no small margin. They’ve received 55 Summer time Video games medals general, 18 of which come from weightlifting, whereas their second-winningest occasion, wrestling, has yielded 10.

After a four-year hiatus from the game, the DPRK returned to the worldwide weightlifting platform in 2023 once they despatched a staff to the nineteenth Asian Video games. Their weightlifters received extra medals than every other nation, and their girls’s staff took 5 world information as well:

  • Girls’s 49KG Clear & Jerk: 124 kilograms | Ri Track-Gum
  • Girls’s 49KG Whole: 216 kilograms | Ri Track-Gum
  • Girls’s 55KG Snatch: 103 kilograms | Kang Hyong-Yong
  • Girls’s 55KG Clear & Jerk: 130 kilograms | Kang Hyong-Yong
  • Girls’s 55KG Whole: 233 kilograms | Kang Hyong-Yong

This development continued in December when DPRK athletes received 13 medals within the Whole on the IWF’s Grand Prix II. Nevertheless, North Korea’s retreat from worldwide sport in 2019 and subsequent reemergence (stronger than ever) has drawn the ire of each IWF officers and different nations who really feel that DPRK weightlifters haven’t been subjected to a good quantity of PED-related oversight prior to now 4 years.

[Related: Did Weightlifter Won Jeong-Sik Clean & Jerk 200kg (2kg Over World Record)?]

Based on an insidethegames article from Oct. 8, IWF President Mohammed Jalood famous that North Korea “should look past [the Paris 2024 Olympics]. They aren’t eligible,” citing that the nation had failed to look at requisite occasions earlier within the qualification cycle.

Regardless, the Democratic Folks’s Republic appears undeterred at lacking out on subsequent 12 months’s Video games. In the identical article, a spokesperson for the weightlifting staff remarked, “We’re world leaders now. We wished to point out our energy and we did it.

6. Luo Shifang (59KG)

China’s girls weightlifters are one of the best on the earth, full cease. However their successes aren’t tethered to the outlying achievements of 1 or two particular athletes; all of the Chinese language girls are good, and each few years, the nation debuts a brand new star.

In 2023, 59-kilogram Luo Shifang made an enormous splash on the worldwide weightlifting platform. Regardless of having a few IWF occasions below her belt as a Youth athlete in 2017, Shifang actually started her Senior profession in earnest this 12 months:

  • 2023 Asian Championships: 1st
  • 2023 World Weightlifting Championships: 1st
  • nineteenth Asian Video games: 2nd
  • 2023 Grand Prix II: 1st

[Related: Weightlifter Luo Shifang (59KG) Jerks 150KG During Team China’s Preparation for 2022 World Championships]

Shifang has made equally robust strides along with her energy over the course of the 12 months. At her first competitors of 2023 in Could, she Totaled 238 kilograms. In December, she put 247 on the board. 

That Whole matches the present world document held by Taiwan’s five-time World Champion Kuo Hsing-Chun, however appears extra fragile by the day so long as Shifang sticks round. 

7. Mary Theisen-Lappen (+87KG)

For over a decade, American super-heavyweight weightlifting has been principally buoyed by the consistency of +87-kilogram Sarah Robles, a three-time Olympian and 2017 World Champion. However in 2023, Mary Theisen-Lappen took her first actual shot at that crown.

Regardless of a relatively scant resume — she first lifted on an IWF stage in 2020 — Theisen-Lappen has quickly positioned herself as one of many States’ strongest belongings by making it to the rostrum at each single occasion she’s attended:

  • 2020 Rogue Weightlifting Problem: 2nd
  • 2021 Pan-American Championships: 1st
  • 2023 Pan-American Championships: 1st
  • 2023 Grand Prix I: 1st
  • 2023 World Weightlifting Championships: 2nd
  • 2023 Grand Prix II: 1st

[Related: American Weightlifter Mary Theisen-Lappen Wins Gold Medal at 2023 IWF Grand Prix II]

Three gold medals and one silver in a single 12 months is nearly one of the best outcome any weightlifter can hope for. What’s extra, Theisen-Lappen and Robles have spent the previous few years battling for a better slot on the IWF top-10 leaderboard, the first metric by which USA Weightlifting will decide who they choose to ship to Paris 2024 subsequent 12 months. 

By successful the Grand Prix II in December, Theisen-Lappen has lastly leapfrogged Robles. She at present sits in fourth place on the earth. 

8. Sergio Massidda (61KG)

When the IWF unveiled the qualification process for the 2024 Olympics, weightlifters have been startled by the stark distinction between the pathway to Paris and the just lately concluded Tokyo Video games. In essence, all it’s worthwhile to qualify is one actually heavy, actually gutsy efficiency. 

Staff Italy has embraced that go-big-or-go-home mentality to various levels of success. Sixty-one-kilogram Sergio Massidda has adopted it fairly properly, although, and rapidly grew to become an actual risk within the light-weight division. In 2023, Massidda:

  • Raised his competitors Whole by 9 kilograms (302 to 293)
  • Medaled internationally in a number of weight classes (61 and 67 kilograms)
  • Improved his finest outcome at Senior Worlds (2nd, up from 4th in 2022)
  • Moved into 4th on the earth on the IWF leaderboard (and is the one non-Asian weightlifter within the prime 5 as of Dec.)

[Read More: The Best Conditioning Workouts for Weightlifters to Help You Get Strong, Lean, and Limber]

Some weightlifters grasp their hats on one singular efficiency or a particular achievement over the course of a aggressive 12 months. Nevertheless it’s simply as commendable to fly below the radar and quietly make a case for your self as top-of-the-line on the earth — and that’s precisely what Massidda is doing. 

9. Ritvars Suharevs (73KG)

Latvian weightlifter Ritvars Suharevs is 24 as of this text’s publication. He’s solely a handful of years faraway from being a Junior athlete, however Suharevs has been competing internationally a number of occasions a 12 months since 2012. 

There are not any medals in weightlifting for longevity, however Suharevs’ storied profession is commendable in additional methods than one. After putting sixth at his first Olympics in 2021, Suharevs underwent surgical procedure on each of his shoulders and was sidelined from competitors for almost a 12 months. However he had, arguably, his finest single-year efficiency — and the meet of his life — in 2023:

  • 2023 European Weightlifting Championships: 1st
  • 2023 World Weightlifting Championships: didn’t end
  • 2023 Grand Prix II: 1st

[Related: 2023 European Weightlifting Championships Full Results]

In 2023, at his seventh look, Suharevs lastly received the Senior European Championships at 73 kilograms. He bombed out within the clear & jerks at this 12 months’s Worlds however returned with a fireplace in his stomach to compete on the Grand Prix II. 

There in Doha, Suharevs received one other gold medal, set a career-best Whole in his present weight class, and (maybe most impressively) handed a defeat to China’s two-time Olympic Champion Shi Zhiyong — his first-ever loss at a weightlifting competitors in 11 years. 

10. Liang Xiaomei (81KG) 

When Staff China debuted Liang Xiaomei at her first Senior worldwide occasion — the 2022 World Championships, the place she received 81-kilogram gold — nobody was shocked. The nation is understood for its reservoir of on-tap expertise. 

However one good meet might be luck. As 2023 attracts to an in depth, it has change into fairly clear that Xiaomei didn’t get fortunate finally 12 months’s Worlds. That occasion was simply the primary basket of her scorching streak: 

  • 2022 World Weightlifting Championships: 1st
  • 2023 Asian Weightlifting Championships: 1st
  • 2023 World Weightlifting Championships: 1st
  • nineteenth Asian Video games: 1st
  • 2023 Grand Prix II: 1st

[Related: Weightlifter Liang Xiaomei (81KG) Sets 161KG (354.9-Pound) Clean & Jerk World Record]

Along with successful all 4 IWF occasions she attended this 12 months, Xiaomei can be a pioneer within the 81-kilogram division. She set the primary world information within the clear & jerk (161 kilograms) and Whole (284 kilograms) on the Grand Prix II — no athlete on the earth had been in a position to exceed the Customary benchmarks set by the IWF in 2018. 

128 kilograms within the snatch is the load Xiaomei might want to maintain all three world information in her class. At her most up-to-date competitors, she snatched 123. If her trajectory is something to go by, she’ll in all probability have all three information locked up by the point the Olympics rolls round.

Extra Weightlifting Content material

Credit score: William Johnson / @barbellstories

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