Here’s Why All Lifting Referees Should Stay On Guard

Whether it’s weightlifting, powerlifting, or any sport involving a barbell, there’s always an inherent risk for the athlete lifting and those around them. This past weekend, we received a friendly reminder as to why it pays for lifting referees to always remain on guard.

Two days ago at the 2017 Asian Indoor Games, we witnessed the close call for the center referee judging the men’s 94kg snatch. Iranian weightlifter Ali Hashemi had over 170kg overhead, stood up, attempted to stabilize, and ended up having to drop the weight before walking off the front of the platform.

The weight hit the front edge of the platform and shot forward towards the center referee’s table. Luckily, the guard rail (which should be used at all comps with raised platforms) placed in front of the referee’s table helped delay the barbell’s progression, and the referee had plenty of time to move out of the way, but the folding table wasn’t so lucky. Check out the clip below.

Thankfully, no one was injured from this snatch mishap, and competition was able to proceed as normally programmed. In addition, Hashemi was able to continue lifting and avoid disqualification, as the it wasn’t intentional.

The Asian Indoor Games host 21 sports over 12 days of competition. The weightlifting competition is held over eight days, and has athletes come our from from 65 delegations to compete. This year, we’ve seen some huge lifts at the Games, including Iran’s 94kg Sohrab Moradi breaking the 18-year old 94kg total world record.

And on the topic of weightlifting mishaps, this certainly isn’t the first time a center referee has had a close call. Check out the video below of youth weightlifter Emily Hearn taking down the center referee from a local competition in March 2015.

As seen in the video above, local judges always have a slightly higher risk due to the lack of space between them and the platform. And thankfully, no one was injured in this video as well, even though the referee ends up on his back.

Then, there’s the video below from 2010 of Poland’s Marzena Karpinska accidentally throwing a snatch off the platform at the center judge.

Thankfully, in all of the videos no one was physically injured. And these videos are a great reminder as to why everyone at strength sport competitions should be aware at all times.

Feature image screenshot from @torokhtiy Instagram page. 

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend.

He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,200 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter.

On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.

Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and a personal trainer the three years before that, and most recently he was the content writer at The Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office.

Jake competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a professional knee rehabber after tearing his quad squatting in 2017. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in New York City.

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