USA Weightlifting’s top Youth competitors will be competing at the 2017 IWF Youth World Championships starting next week. This year’s Youth Worlds are being held from April 3-10th in Bangkok, Thailand. Be sure to check out the live stream with this link.
The 2017 IWF Youth Worlds is an event with the potential to qualify athletes for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, which are being held in Argentina from October 6-18th. According to USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews, “Both [USAW’s] Women’s and Men’s team are on course to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games for the first time at the World Level.”
A few athletes to keep an eye on are 69kg CJ Cummings, 77kg Harrison Maurus, 69kg Athena Schrijver, and 63kg Taylor Babb (but many more are poised for great performances!).
Cummings and Maurus are positioned to potentially break (or in Cummings’ case, extend his current) world records for the clean & jerk and possibly take home first for their weight classes.
This would be huge for Team USA, as Andrews further explained in an email sent out to USA Weightlifting’s membership: “The last time was Berger and Kono at the 1958 World Championships, who both won Gold at the event (and both were Olympic Champions in 1956).”
What Andrews is referencing in the quote above was Isaac Berger (featherweight) and Tommy Kono’s (middleweight) performances in the 1958 World Weightlifting Championships. They both finished first for their division, so for the first time since 1958, Team USA could find themselves in a similar situation at an international competition with their male athletes.
Cummings is currently the Youth World Record holder for the clean & jerk with a 182k (401 lb) lift. He also holds the Junior American Snatch record with 139kg, which he set this year at the Nike National Junior Championships.
Maurus will hopefully find himself in a position to attempt a world record clean & jerk. This lift would be a significant in competition PR for Maurus, but his recent training has suggested it’s possible.
USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews commented that, “If both athletes are successful, either at this event or later in the year, it will the first time since the 1950s that two athletes have set World Records for the USA in the same event at any age group. The USA will then hold 3 of 16 World Records (69kg Men, 77kg Men and +75kg Women) at the Youth level.”
The third record holder is Cheryl Haworth, who claimed bronze at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Last September, the IWF approved the creation of two new youth weight classes for women, which include 75k and 75+kg classes.
In January, the IWF formally acknowledged athletes who would have set records for these corresponding weight classes and age groups at the time of competition. This gave Haworth (in the 75+kg category and 17 at the time of completion) the record for her 125kg snatch at the 2000 Olympics.
Schrijver, 16, took home silver in the snatch and total at the year’s 2017 USA Weightlifting Nike Junior National Championships.
Babb, 16, finished second at the 2017 USA Weightlifting Nike Junior Nationals Championships and set the U17 63kg junior snatch record at 80kg. She also holds the the U15 snatch record with an 82kg lift she hit at the 2016 American Open.
Hopefully we can witness history in the making as some of USA Weightlifting’s best young athletes head off to Bangkok this weekend.
Feature image from @cj__cummings, @harrison_maurus, @taylor.babb.cf, and @athena._.schrijver Instagram page.