Behdad Salimi Resumes Training After ACL Surgery, Still 50/50 for Rio

Update: At the Asian Weightlifting Championships on April 27th, BarBend correspondent Mike Graber spoke to the Iranian delegation regarding Salimi’s status. They say he’s resumed training but is still 50/50 to defend his superheavyweight title at the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

The delegation says Salimi’s countryman Kianoush Roustami is looking good and ready to make a run for gold in Rio.

Iranian weightlifter, multi-time World Champion, and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Behdad Salimi has apparently resumed training after a torn ACL kept him out of the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships.

Salimi tore his left ACL in October during an attempted 262 kilo clean & jerk in training (video at the bottom of the article). Salimi made the clean and seemed to stick the jerk, but his knee caved in on the recovery. The injury kept him from competing in the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships in Houston.

In late March, the Instagam account @Iranian_Weightlifting posted several photos of Salimi in the training hall, including the below. When you’re one of the world’s best superheavyweight lifters, 130 kilograms seems like a reasonable warmup weight for the first session back

Below is the attempt that likely caused Salimi’s injury last year, though it hasn’t been verified by Iranian weightlifting officials. WARNING: It’s a bit graphic.

It’s great to see Salimi back to training again; he’s an incredible lifter and big personality on and off the platform. He attacks weights with aggression, especially on the snatch — and he proves that even the world’s best superheavies can get away with a donkey kick given the right mix of timing, strength, and flexibility.

Salimi currently holds the snatch world record in his weight class at 214 kilos, and he’s flirted with the clean & jerk record in training. Here is a training attempt at 265 kilos, video courtesy of All Things Gym.

We’ll likely have to wait another year or so to see Salimi back on the international stage. He’s still fairly young (26), so there’s a chance he could make a run for another Olympic medal in 2020.