The sport of weightlifting is looking to close out 2022 on a high note. The 2022 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Weightlifting Championships (WWC) will commence on Dec. 5 and run through the 16th in Bogotá, Colombia.
In addition to hosting many of the world’s most accomplished professional Olympic lifters, the competition in Colombia will also begin to illustrate the landscape of the sport leading up to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
If you’re interested in the who, when, and how of Worlds, all the info you could ever need (and a little more) is here at your fingertips. Below, you can find the session scheduling for the WWC, how to watch the event live, and some specific athletes you might want to keep an eye on.
2022 IWF World Weightlifting Championships | Session Dates & Times
The competition in Bogotá begins on the 5th of December and runs through the 16th. Below are the dates and times for all A-Group sessions — the sessions likely to host the most competitive lifting. Paris-recognized weight categories are bolded.
Note: All times are listed in Eastern Standard Time (EST).
- 45A: Dec. 5, 7:00 p.m.
- 49A: Dec. 6, 4:30 p.m.
- 55A: Dec. 7, 7:00 p.m.
- 59A: Dec. 8, 7:00 p.m.
- 64A: Dec. 10, 7:00 p.m.
- 71A: Dec. 12, 7:00 p.m.
- 76A: Dec. 13, 4:30 p.m.
- 81A: Dec. 14, 4:30 p.m.
- 87A: Dec. 14, 7:00 p.m.
- +87A: Dec. 15, 4:30 p.m.
- 55A: Dec. 6, 7:00 p.m.
- 61A: Dec. 7, 4:30 p.m.
- 67A: Dec. 9, 4:30 p.m.
- 73A: Dec. 9, 7:00 p.m.
- 81A: Dec. 11, 4:30 p.m.
- 89A: Dec. 11, 7:00 p.m.
- 96A: Dec. 12, 4:30 p.m.
- 102A: Dec. 13, 7:00 p.m.
- 109A: Dec. 15, 7:00 p.m.
- +109A: Dec. 16, 4:30 p.m.
2022 IWF World Weightlifting Championships | Live Stream
Similarly to the 2022 European and Asian Weightlifting Championships, Weightlifting House has secured broadcasting rights for the 2022 WWC in Colombia. If you want to catch the action at Worlds in real-time, you can access the pay-per-view stream by purchasing a ticket on the Weightlifting House website. Early bird pricing starts at $13.99 and will increase as the competition approaches.
House founder Seb Ostrowicz remarks that he intends to work with the IWF to help “bring the sport of weightlifting closer to its fans.” Those who purchase access to the event digitally will receive real-time live streams of all competitive sessions (with live commentary on the A Group only).
As of Nov. 23, 2022, the Weightlifting House pay-per-view stream is available to viewers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Australia, and New Zealand. The organization notes that it is working on securing broadcasting rights in other countries before the WWC commences.
Who to Watch at the 2022 IWF World Weightlifting Championships
Examining the top 10 entry Totals begins to color the landscape of weightlifting post-Tokyo: Athletes of all sizes are starting to shuffle toward the body weights recognized by the IOC in Paris. As such, the top entries in the Paris categories are more competitive on average.
Some Paris-accepted averages exceed that of the class above; including the Men’s 89, Women’s 59, and especially Women’s 81 in particular, whose average entry Total is 17 above that of the 87-kilogram division. However, some entry averages are buoyed significantly by outliers.
Egypt’s Sara Ahmed (76KG) has entered 10 kilograms ahead of the second-highest athlete and a full 34 kilos above the 10th-place entry, marking the second-largest spread — 109KG Hristo Hristov of Bulgaria has entered 40 kilograms ahead of the 10th-highest Total in that class — of the competition outside of the super-heavyweight divisions.
Note: These values are pulled from the IWF’s initial entry list published on Nov. 9, 2022. Paris Olympics categories are bolded.
The notation reads “[Average Top 10 Entry Total] (Highest/Lowest) [Spread]”
Top 10 Entry Totals (Men)
- Men’s 55KG: 259.1 (280/250) 30
- Men’s 61KG: 300.3 (311/292) 19
- Men’s 67KG: 318.4 (330/310) 20
- Men’s 73KG: 344.8 (350/340) 10
- Men’s 81KG: 360.1 (371/350) 21
- Men’s 89KG: 383 (400/370) 30
- Men’s 96KG: 382.9 (393/380) 13
- Men’s 102KG: 393 (405/380) 25
- Men’s 109KG: 383.7 (410/370) 40
- Men’s +109KG: 437.5 (450/430) 20
Top 10 Entry Totals (Women)
- Women’s 45KG: 168.8 (185/160) 25
- Women’s 49KG: 199.2 (210/192) 18
- Women’s 55KG: 204 (215/198) 17
- Women’s 59KG: 226.8 (240/220) 20
- Women’s 64KG: 224.2 (235/213) 27
- Women’s 71KG: 245.7 (260/238) 22
- Women’s 76KG: 238.6 (260/226) 34
- Women’s 81KG: 260.7 (270/250) 20
- Women’s 87KG: 243.8 (255/235) 20
- Women’s +87KG: 278.5 (300/260) 40
Initial entry Totals are subject to change, and the board often adjusts quite a bit right up until competition commences.
Regardless, these initial numbers begin to depict where the balance of power lies during the first big qualification event for the 2024 Olympics. Here are some specific athletes and categories worth keeping an eye on in Colombia:
The Women’s 71-kilogram class is likely to be the biggest battleground for female weightlifters who intend to go to Paris. Athletes from both the 64 and 76-kilogram classes have moved or are eyeing moves to the 71s, creating a remarkably tight field.
Leading the charge in entry Total is China’s Liao Guifang with 260 kilograms. Guifang has competed as a Junior athlete since 2017, but she hasn’t appeared at an IWF event since her 64-kilogram win at 2019 Junior Worlds. For Guifang to emerge from a three-year international hiatus with a 10-kilogram declared margin in one of the sport’s most competitive classes speaks volumes about what Team China expects from her.
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Beyond that, the bulk of the top 10 contains many of the sport’s best middleweight women, including Loredana Toma (four-time European Champion), Olivia Reeves (2021 Junior World Champion), Kate Vibert (2020 Olympics silver medalist), and Angie Dajomes (2022 Pan-American Champion) who are all within five kilograms of one another.
18-year-old Karlos Nasar has put in a 400KG entry Total, 10 kilograms ahead of runner-up and 2019 World Champion Tian Tao. The Men’s 89KG division is expected to be among the most competitive classes in the sport between Colombia and the Paris Olympics, as athletes from the 81 and 96-kilo classes move up or down to the Paris-recognized category.
However, on Nov. 16, Italian weightlifter and current World Record holder in the clean & jerk and Total Antonino Pizzolato announced on social media that he will withdraw from the competition due to injury. Pizzolato was a safe bet for the podium in what appears to be a four-athlete race (Tao, Nasar, and Venezuela’s Keydomar Vallenilla Sanchez included), so his absence will amount to a significant shake-up.
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With Pizzolato out, the podium seems to be clearly spoken for between the trio of phenomenal lifters who have entered Totals at or above 390. The question is, who will come out on top?
Romanian athlete Loredana Toma is perhaps one of the most successful currently-active weightlifters to have never set a World Record. In addition to a lone WWC victory in 2017, Toma is also a four-time (2017-2019, 2021) European Champion.
Toma was unexpectedly sidelined from competing at the Tokyo Olympics after the Romanian weightlifting federation was hit with a competitive suspension in June of 2021.
She was reportedly scorned by this decision, taking to social media one day after the Women’s 64-kilogram event to post a 115-kilogram snatch personal record:
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This lift could be viewed as a statement since the highest snatch in Toma’s weight class in Tokyo was 105 kilograms by Canadian lifter Maude Charron. Toma clearly has enough strength to win the most prestigious events in Olympic lifting.
Toma hasn’t appeared at an IWF event since the 2021 European Championships, but her social media accounts are awash with massive training lifts. She’s clearly been grinding hard during her downtime from competition and is likely to make a big splash in Bogotá.
Lasha Talakhadze is the strongest weightlifter ever — a claim often made as an opinion masquerading as fact. But, in fact, Talakhadze has lifted more weight over his head in a weightlifting competition than any other human being to ever live. Talakhadze has won every international competition he’s attended since 2013, steadily increasing his Total along the way with few exceptions.
On Apr. 20, 2022, only a few weeks before the European Weightlifting Championships, Talakhadze suffered a grievous leg injury in the gym. At Euros, he Totaled 462KG — his lowest international result since 2018 — opting out of his final clean & jerk.
Team Georgia’s physician, Giorgi Tchintcharauli, has posted much of Talakhadze’s comeback in the months leading up to the super-heavyweight session in Bogotá. While Talakhadze appears to be training well and approaching his prior strength, his entry Total of 450KG is on par with that of Armenia’s Varazdat Lalayan.
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Fans of weightlifting have grown comfortable watching Talakhadze set new World Records on a very regular basis. There’s no doubt he’ll put on a stellar performance, but the question of the competition will be whether or not he’ll push the limits of human strength once again.
19-year-old Rizki Juniansyah of Indonesia is one of the best up-and-coming weightlifters. That’s not just in the highly-competitive 73-kilogram division but in the world. With a best international Total of 349KG from the 2021 Junior World Championships (which would’ve been good for silver in the 2020 Olympics), Juniansyah is expected to make waves in the 73s over the next few years.
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In Bogotá specifically, Juniansyah has a clear pathway to the top of the podium as 2020 Olympic Champion and multi-World-Record-holder Shi Zhiyong, normally a 73-kilogram lifter, is competing up in the 81s. With Zhiyong out, the top 10 athletes in the 73s are all within 10 kilograms of each other by entry Total. Juniansyah could, with a bit of luck and spectacular lifting, make a run for the gold medal and get away with it.
In the summer of 2021, American athlete Kate Vibert made history for Team USA by winning a silver medal in the Women’s 76-kilogram division at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — the highest Games accolade for an American female weightlifter in history, and the best Games result from any American weightlifter in two decades’ time.
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Vibert suffered a debilitating meniscus tear just days before she was scheduled to compete at the 2022 Pan-American Championships (also held in Bogotá). With a best-ever Total of 248KG at 71 kilograms, Vibert is one of the States’ most effective competitors. It remains to be seen whether she has bounced back from her summer injury in time to make the podium in Bogotá.
Vibert tells BarBend over text that her training has resumed as usual post-surgery and she plans on giving it her all to make the 71-kilogram podium.
2020 Olympic Champion from Uzbekistan Akbar Djuraev is one of many athletes making a weight category adjustment at the World Championships. However, his decision may be among the boldest in the field, if not the most brazen outright.
Djuraev handily won gold in the Men’s 109-kilogram class in Tokyo with a 430-kilogram Total (an Olympic Record) — but the 109s aren’t on the docket in 2024. As such, it appears that rather than cut down and join the 102-kilogram category where the highest entry Total stands at 405, Djuraev has moved up to compete with the super-heavyweights.
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Athletes handle weight cuts differently, and Djuraev has a large frame. Regardless, it is a surprising choice. He’s posted some monstrous training lifts over the course of 2022, but Djuraev faces a steep climb to the podium. He’ll have to pull something extraordinary out of his bag of tricks if he wants to contend with Simon Martirosyan, Gor Minasyan, and the king himself Lasha Talakhadze.
For the last decade or so, Taiwanese weightlifter Kuo Hsing-Chun has quietly and consistently built one of the most impressive competitive resumes in the modern history of the sport. Since her IWF debut as a Youth athlete in 2010, Hsing-Chun has won the Asian and World Championships five times each, setting 11 Senior World Records in the process.
As of Nov. 2022, Hsing-Chun is also the only non-Chinese female weightlifter to hold all three current World Records in the snatch, clean & jerk, and Total. In that regard, she is the only peer of Georgian super-heavyweight Lasha Talakhadze, as they are the only two athletes on Earth to possess every record in their respective categories (59KG and +109KG).
Hsing-Chun’s current World Record international Total of 247KG (from the 2020 Asian Championships) stands above the entirety of the 59-kilogram class in Colombia. However, Hsing-Chun hasn’t offered the highest entry Total; China’s Luo Shifang is at the top with 240 kilos.
Hsing-Chun hasn’t lost a World Championships since 2015, a streak she’ll have to fight tooth and nail to maintain in Bogotá against a very stacked class.
Sara Samir Ahmed
Egypt’s Sara Ahmed hasn’t appeared at an IWF-recognized competition since 2019. Prior to that, she was powering through the Women’s 69, 71, and 76-kilogram categories, winning two Junior World Championships, several African Games, a silver medal at the 2018 WWC, and a bronze in the Rio Olympics in a three-year period.
Ahmed teased a possible return to competition in March of 2022 by posting a 150-kilogram clean & jerk to social media. She’s since hit several tremendous lifts, including a 126-kilogram snatch from blocks and 152 kilos in the clean & jerk in training (above, at the 6:40 mark).
It’s a safe bet that Ahmed will make the podium in Colombia. The real question is whether or not she’ll hit a new World Record along the way; the 76-kilogram World Records currently stand at 124 and 156 kilograms, respectively. Ahmed is within striking distance of both.
Throughout the four-year quad between the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2016 Games in Rio, Iranian lifter Kianoush Rostami was considered one of the best in the world, and certainly a threat at every major competition. Rostami also held the 85-kilogram World Records in the clean & jerk and Total (220KG and 396KG, respectively) for the final two years prior to the dissolution of the category by the IWF.
Despite a few notable international victories in recent years (Rostami is the 2020 Asian Champion at 89KG), he hasn’t won a World Championships since 2014; nor seen himself on the WWC podium at all since 2015. Rostami didn’t appear at Worlds in 2018 or 2021. He bombed out in 2017 and 2019.
Regardless, he’s known for making some truly gutsy attempts on the platform to secure himself a medal. More importantly, his entry Total in Bogotá of 380KG is seven kilos above his best historical result (373KG) in the 89-kilogram class, indicating he’s put in some serious work since his last IWF appearance.
If you’re looking for a dark horse podium contender to root for in the Men’s 89-kilogram class, Rostami is a solid pick.
One thing is certain; the 2022 IWF World Weightlifting Championships are shaping up to be one of the best competitions in years. A new Olympic qualification cycle brings forth everything fans adore about the sport. New athletes in new classes, new World Records established and broken, and opportunities for many historic moments to come.
Featured Image: Celso Pupo / Shutterstock