The 2021 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships are scheduled for Dec. 7-17, 2021, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and a significant development has occurred: Team China has withdrawn from the competition a week prior to its start. According to insidethegames, the Chinese Weightlifting Association (CWA) confirmed that the four men and four women initially entered into IWF World Championships will not participate due to “travel and quarantine difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
China’s withdrawal follows a crowded competition season in 2021 that involved nearly month-long quarantines for the 2021 Asian Weightlifting Championships (AWC) held in April 2021 and the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games held in late July into early August 2021. Additionally, the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 further complicates the matter as flights are restricted, China’s border security is strict, and Chinese citizens traveling back from outside the country can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China.
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The Roster That Was
China’s absence from the 2021 IWF World Championships means podium positions they would have likely occupied will be available to the rest of the field. Here are the eight Chinese athletes still on the contest’s entry list at the time of this article’s publication:
2021 IWF World Championship Roster — China
- Huang Minhao — Men’s 67-kilograms
- Yuan Chengfei — Men’s 73-kilograms
- Li Dayin — Men’s 81-kilograms
- Tian Fuxuan — Men’s 96-kilograms
- Jiang Huihua — Women’s 49-kilograms
- Luo Xiaomin — Women’s 59-kilograms
- Huang Ting — Women’s 64-kilograms
- Ao Hui — Women’s 87-kilograms
Huang Minhao won silver at the 2018 IWF World Championships. Yuan Chengfei claimed silver at the 2016 and 2019 AWC in the 69-kilogram and 73-kilogram categories, respectively, and gold at the 2017 AWC at 77-kilograms. Li Dayin has two IWF World Cup gold medals and won the 2019 Asian Championships. He set the current snatch world record of 175 kilograms (385.8 pounds) at the 2021 AWC.
Jiang Huihua is the reigning IWF World Champion. Her victory at the 2019 IWF World Championships was her second time winning the title; her first was in 2015. At the 2019 IWF World Championships, she set a previous clean & jerk world record of 118 kilograms (260.1 pounds) and the previous total world record of 212 kilograms (467.4 pounds). For reference, Chanu Saikhom Mirabai advanced the clean & jerk world record by one kilogram at the 2021 AWC. Likewise, fellow Chinese weightlifter, Hou Zhihui advanced the world record total by one kilogram to 213 kilograms (469.6 pounds).
In 2017, Huang Ting won gold at the IWF Junior World Championships (at 63 kilograms). Ao Hui has a gold medal from the 2018 IWF World Championships and from the Junior Asian Championships in 2015 (at 75 kilograms).
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Who to Watch
With China absent from the 2021 IWF World Championships, there are some key athletes to keep your eyes on. In training, Karlos Nasar of Bulgaria recently turned 17 years old and hit a 175-kilogram (385.8-pound) snatch. Competing in the 81-kilogram class, he is listed with an expected total of 365 kilograms (804.7 pounds) — the same as Li Dayin. Brayan Rodallegas Carvajal of Colombia is expected to score five kilograms more than Nasar, so the battle at 81-kilograms will be a fight worth watching.
CJ Cummings of Team USA is appearing at 81-kilograms for the first time on the world stage. Tokyo Olympic Games gold medalist Kuo Hsing-Chun is listed with an expected gold-medal total of 235 kilograms (518.1 pounds). At 67-kilograms, Luis Mosquera of Colombia had the same expected gold-medal total as Huang Minhao of 330 kilograms (727.5 pounds). With China absent from the competition, Mosquera’s spot atop the podium seems to be his to lose.
2021 will be the first time since 2017 that China won’t make a podium appearance at the IWF World Championships. We’ll see which athletes move to capitalize on their absence and bring home some coveted hardware.
Featured image: @luxiaojunbarbell on Instagram