Iranian Weightlifter Behdad Salimi Announces Retirement After 2018 Asian Games

At the age of 28, Iranian +105kg weightlifter Behdad Salimi announced his retirement after winning gold at the 2018 Asian Games. Salimi’s latest gold — which comes as his third at the Asian Games — could be described as the icing on the cake to a long and successful weightlifting career.

This news came soon after Salimi hit his third attempt in the clean & jerk, and was also confirmed in an interview following the competition that was shared on the Iran Weightlifting Instagram page. On the Iran Weightlifting Instagram post initially highlighting Salimi’s retirement announcement, they write (which has been loosely translated through the Instagram app),

“Behdad Salimi officially said goodbye to the sport of God’s championship after the gold medal of Asian Games, Behdad Salimi took his shoes to say goodbye from the Championship and kissed the weights. Minutes ago also Behdad confirmed this farewell in an interview. Behdad Salimi while he won the third gold medal of his Asian Games, at the top and at the age of 29 say goodbye to weightlifting.”

Note, that while the Instagram description above says Salimi is 29 years old, we’ve written 28, as that’s what’s shown on the IWF’s athlete profile, along with the Asian Games’ page. This news came as a shock to many, as Salimi has put on multiple strong performances over the last decade.

Below, we’ve highlighted a few more of Salimi’s stellar career accolades to provide more context into the success of his career.

  • 2-Time IWF World Champion (2010 & 2011), Silver in 2014, and Bronze in 2017
  • 2012 London Olympic Games Champion
  • 3-Time Asian Games Gold Medalist
  • 3-Time Asian Championships Gold Medalist
  • Set the Snatch World Record In 2014 With 214kg, Then Broke It At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games With 216kg

At the recent 2018 Asian Games, Salimi went 5/6 and recorded very promising numbers. On the snatch, Salimi opened with 203kg, missed his second attempt at 206kg, and hit a 208kg third. This tied him with fellow Iranian Saied Alihosseini who also completed a 208kg third attempt snatch.

Heading into clean & jerks, Salimi and Alihosseini were neck-and-neck. Alihosseini opened with 240kg, then moved to 248kg for a second attempt make. Salimi, at this point, was a few kg behind Alihosseini and completed a 237kg opener and a 246kg second attempt. With everything on the line, Salimi called for 253kg to conclude his clean & jerks, and hit it to earn a 461kg total. Soon after, Alihosseini put 254kg on the bar to narrowly take the win, but was unable to lock it out, which awarded Salimi with his third gold medal at the Asian Games.

There’s no denying that Salimi has had a strong and successful career. Remember, this news is coming only months before the 2018 IWF World Championships. Now the question that remains, is who can push Georgian weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze?

Feature image from @iran_weightlifting Instagram page.