Team Colombia appears to have a true snatch specialist on their hands. On Dec. 14, 2021, 96-kilogram weightlifter Lesman Paredes Montaño set a new world record in the snatch of 187 kilograms (412.2 pounds) at the 2021 Weightlifting World Championships. This, coupled with his 213-kilogram (469.5-pound) clean & jerk, facilitated his gold-medal win via a 400-kilogram (881.8-pound) total.
Paredes Montaño, who had a prior career as a junior athlete in 2015, returned from a competitive hiatus in 2021 to become the 2021 Pan-American Champion in the 102-kilogram class. His time away from the platform appears to have been to his benefit, as his performance narrowly bested the current 96-kilogram Olympic Champion, Fares Ibrahim El-Bakh of Qatar.
You can see Paredes Montaño’s record-breaking snatch below, courtesy of /r/weightlifting user /u/TheYKcid, as well as some extra context on how he pulled it off, and the podium results from the session:
[Related: Watch Lasha Talakhadze Pull Off a 150-Kilogram Muscle Snatch]
2021 World Weightlifting Championships Men’s 96-Kilogram Results
- Lesman Paredes Montaño (COL) — 400 kilograms (187/213), Gold
- Fares Ibrahim El-Bakh (QAT) — 394 kilograms (172/222), Silver
- Keydomar Giovanni Vallenilla Sánchez (VEN) — 391 kilograms (177/214), Bronze
Paredes Montaño set himself up for success in the snatch portion of the event. He was the heaviest athlete to appear and the only one to even attempt a lift at or above 180 kilograms (396.8 pounds), which he made on his first attempt. After nailing 187, he attempted a massive 190 kilograms (418.8 pounds) but was unsuccessful.
By the time the clean & jerks arrived, Paredes Montaño had established a lead that the other participants would struggle to surpass. Even though he missed his first clean & jerk, by securing 213 kilograms on his final lift, he had firmly beaten both the gold and silver medalists — El-Bakh and Vallenilla Sánchez — from the Tokyo Olympics. El-Bakh made a valiant effort at 229 kilograms (504.8 pounds) to win it all, but failed to catch his clean.
Pulling Off a World Record Snatch
Putting a world-class lift overhead is often a perfect storm. For Paredes Montaño to break the snatch record, formerly held by 2016 Olympic Champion Sohrab Moradi, he needed multiple factors to go his way on the day.
To open a full eight kilograms beyond any other athlete in the field suggests that Paredes Montaño both had a successful training program leading up to the event and was technically precise during his warm-up attempts. It is common for weightlifters to exercise caution during their snatches, due to the technical demands of the lift itself. Opening high suggests that Paredes Montaño and his coaches were likely confident about their prospects.
Further, Paredes Montaño is undeniably built to perform in the snatch. He has uncommonly long arms, which allow him to take a very wide grip on the bar. Large hands allow him to have a more secure hook grip, which improves his pulling confidence. Being taller than other athletes in his class, usually a detriment in the sport, gives Paredes Montaño more time to develop momentum and force.
It certainly helps that Paredes Montaño is exceptionally flexible. His mobility in the hip, ankle, and shoulder joints let him receive the barbell in an extremely stable and upright position, which is essential for making snatches look easy. While it is rare for an athlete to excel so strongly in one lift, things clearly worked out in Paredes Montaño’s favor.
A snatch world record from Paredes Montaño rockets him into the conversation of potential podium athletes in an already-stacked weight class. His performance also reminds of athletes like Andrei Rybakou, famous throughout their careers for being exceedingly talented at one specific competition movement.
Although the 2021 World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from Dec. 7-17, are drawing slowly to a close, athletes like Paredes Montaño are proving there’s still plenty of opportunities to set records and make history.
Featured Image: @iwfnet on Instagram