There’s been speculation around the weightlifting world whether 2012 Olympic Champion Behdad Salimi could return from knee surgery in time for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Salimi — who injured his knee on a 262kg jerk attempt in training in October 2015 — returned to the platform on June 2nd, and while his participation in Rio hasn’t been 100% confirmed, it looks like he’s certainly back to lifting big boy weights.
Salimi lifted in the +105kg class at the first Fajr Cup, where just two days prior, fellow Iranian lifter Kianoush Rostami broke the longstanding clean & jerk world record in the 85kg weight class. Because the Fajr Cup is an IWF Grand Prix, lifts count toward world records — and lifters can also use the event toward the required quota of two recent international events in order to gain Olympics eligibility.
Salimi won the weight class pretty easily, going 195/201/205 in the snatch and hitting his opening clean & jerk at 225kg. You can see his 205 snatch below; Salimi currently holds the world record with 214kg, which he hit at the 2011 World Championships in Paris.
News outlet Varzesh3 covered the event, capturing Salimi’s successful clean & jerk and interviewing the champ after his lifts.
It appears Salimi has switched to a power jerk, likely in order to protect his reconstructed knee. Missed attempts at 231 kg — well below Salimi’s previous international best clean & jerks — signal he may have an uphill battle in Rio against a healthy Lasha Talakhadze and Ruslan Albegov, both of whom have hit clean & jerks over 250 in recent competitions.
That is, of course, assuming he competes.