The eighth weight category to compete at the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was the Men’s 96-kilogram weight class. Group B competed on Friday, July 30, 2021, at 10:50 p.m. EST. Group A competed on Saturday, July 31, 2021, at 2:50 a.m. EST.
Twenty-three-year-old. Fares Ibrahim El-Bakh, who goes by the name Meso Hassouna, scored the first-ever gold medal for the country of Qatar.
Men’s 96-Kilogram Results
- Fares Ibrahim El-Bakh (Qatar) — 402 (177/225) (Gold, Olympic Record)
- Keydomar Giovanni Vallenilla Sanchez (Venezuela) — 387 (177/210) (Silver)
- Anton Pliesnoi (Georgia) — 387 (177/210) (Bronze)
- Boady Santavy(Canada) — 386 (178/208)
- Chen Po-Jen (Chinese Taipei) — 381 (176/205)
- Bendoloot Rasulbekov (Kyrgyzstan) — 374 (166/208)
- Bartlomiej Adamus (Poland) — 360 (163/197)
- Yu Dong-ju (South Korea) — 360 (160/200)
- Olfides Saez Vera (Cuba) — 359 (156/203)
- Tchatchet Il Cyrille Fagat (Refugee Olympic Team) — 350 (155/196)
- Theodoros Iakovidis (Greece) — 338 (156/182)
- Christian Amoah (Ghana) — 315 (145/170)
- Moammed Hamada (Palestine) — 310 (137/173)
- Yauheni Tsikhantsou (Belarus) — X (173/X) Did Not Finish
- Toshiki Yamamoto (Japan) — X (168/X) Did Not Finish
Note: the above stats are structured as — Total (Snatch/Clean & Jerk)
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[Related: The Full 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Weightlifting Roster]
2020 Tokyo Olympic Games — Men’s 96KG
Here are the fourteen athletes in the Men’s 96-kilogram category who competed in Tokyo:
- Yauheni Tsikhantsou — Belarus
- Boady Robert Santavy — Canada
- Anton Pliesnoi — Georgia
- Toshiki Yamamoto — Japan
- Bekdoolot Rasulbekov — Kyrgyzstan
- Yu Dong-ju — South Korea
- Bartlomiej Stefan Adamus — Poland
- Fares Ibrahim El-Bakh — Qatar
- Po-Jen Chen — Chinese Taipei
- Keydomar Giovanni Vallenilla Sanchez — Venezuela
- Tchatchet Il Cyrille Fagat — Refugee Olympic Team
- Theodoros Iakovidis — Greece
- Olfides Saez Vera — Cuba
- Mohammed Hamada —Palestine
- Christian Amoah — Ghana
New weightlifting categories were approved by the IWF in 2018. There were no returning medalists from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Heading into the Games, all three world records in this category were held by two weightlifters not present in Tokyo. Sohrab Moradi of Iran held the snatch and total world records; both scored at the 2018 IWF World Championships. Tian Tao of China held the clean & jerk world record, scored at a 2019 Olympics Test Event.
96-Kilogram World Records
- Snatch — Sohrab Moradi, 186 kilograms (410.1 pounds)
- Clean & Jerk — Tian Tao, 231 kilograms (509.3 pounds)
- Total — Sohrab Moradi, 416 kilograms (917.1 pounds)
The beginning of the snatch portion in the Men’s 96-kilogram event was smooth sailing with clean efforts from Adamus of Poland, Korea’s Dong-Ju, and Tokyo native Yamamoto, who made a particularly daring save on his second attempt at 165 kilograms.
When the bar had exceeded 170, former World Champion Tsikhantsou of Belarus was in peril after missing his first two snatches at 170 kilograms, coming back after a break to very narrowly secure 173.
Following the loading of three red discs, potential medalists El-Bakh of Qatar, Santavy of Canada, and Pliesnoi of Georgia saw multiple missed attempts while Venezuela’s Sanchez smoothly cruised to a 3/3 performance, ending with 177. Pliesnoi and El-Bakh would both conclude with back-to-back successes at the same weight, while Santavy would exceed by one kilogram. Po-Jen of Chinese Taipei took a crack at 180 kilograms to wrap up the snatch portion, but didn’t have it.
Clean & Jerk
After the snatches wrapped up, the competition saw a tight continuation as nearly every athlete began their campaign near or at 200 kilograms. Po-Jen, who took the final snatch attempt, was among the first to step up for jerks, and the lack of rest time visibly affected his performance.
Yamamoto also struggled, missing his first two clean & jerks. He made a valiant third attempt at 200 kilograms, but collapsed after the clean and required assistance off the platform. His departure from the competition was mirrored by Tsikhantsou, who has an international best of 222 kilograms but failed thrice to stand up 200.
Another roadblock emerged at 205 kilograms for athletes like Adamus. Dong-ju, and Santavy, losing out on a chance to build their momentum in the back half of the event. Pliesnoi was the first athlete to break the barrier when he lifted 206 kilograms, though he left the stage with a clear limp.
Santavy cemented his total and wrapped up his participation with a 208 kilogram clean and jerk. Sanchez dominated 210 for his opener, a weight that Pliesnoi matched shortly after while in obvious pain.
Sanchez performed by far the most extraordinary lift on his third attempt, with a stumbling, shaky 216 kilograms that prompted a pause in the competition by the jury. After an extended pause, he was not awarded the lift.
This paved the way for Qatar’s El-Bakh, who had not even begun his clean and jerks by the time his competitors had all but finished. He stamped 217 overhead with ease on his first attempt to claim the gold medal.
The new Olympic Champion called for 225 kilograms and reappeared on stage, roared to the crowd, and sent it overhead to claim a new Olympic Record. 232 kilograms was called in a last-ditch effort to unseat the recently-retired Tian Tao, but El-Bakh could not perform the clean.
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The Games Continue
The next two sessions will feature the Women’s 76-kilogram and Women’s 87-kilogram categories. Groups B and A for the Women’s 76-kilogram category will compete on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, at 12:50 a.m. EST and 6:50 a.m EST, respectively. Group B for the Women’s 87-kilogram category will compete that same day at 10:50 p.m. EST. Group A will compete on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, at 2:50 a.m. EST.
Feature image: @qatarweightlifting on Instagram