Kianoush Rostami Wins IWF’s Lifter of the Year, Two Days After Being Dropped From National Team

One day after the Kianoush Rostami was dropped from Iran’s national weightlifting team, the International Weightlifting Federation has named him 2016’s male Lifter of the Year. The award is decided by a popular vote of fans.

Thailand’s Sopita Tanasan won the award for female Lifter of the Year, beating out China’s Deng Wei and Hsu Shu-Ching in second and third places. Deng lost by around 1,200 votes, while only fifty-five votes separated Deng and Hsu.

Rostami, meanwhile, won first place by a whopping twenty thousand votes, three times more than the second place runner up Lasha Talakhadze from Georgia. Third place went to the Kazakh weightlifter Nijat Rahimov, who the IWF said received “significantly less votes.”

The coach of Iran’s weightlifting team, Sajjad Anoushiravani, said on Sunday that Rostami was “dropped from the national team after not participating in the training.” Rostami is largely self-trained and had no coach in the lead-up to the Rio Olympics, saying in an interview:

“Nobody thought it was possible to come to Rio without a coach but here I am. All the time I train alone, just me in a training camp. Nobody sees me. It can make your mind go a bit crazy, but I will be here again the next time (at Tokyo 2020) for sure.”

The IWF’s award is officially known as the Jenő Boskovics Lifter of the Year for 2016. Boskovics was a Hungarian journalist who specialized in weightlifting coverage and worked as the Press Chief and Spokesman of the International Weightlifting Federation for many decades. He was also the Editor-In-Chief of World Weightlifting Magazine until his death in 2010. The IWF are preparing to present the awards in a ceremony later this year.

Featured image via @iwfnet on Instagram.