With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games coming in the summer of 2021, competitors across every division will be vying for a spot on the podium, a weightlifting world record, or both. As with every Olympic cycle previously, lifters are likely to take their shots at record-breaking performances.
We’ve put together infographics with the current weightlifting world records, broken down by weight class. They are accurate as of late November 2020.
Back in 2018, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Executive Board approved new bodyweight categories which means that all the standing records in weight categories at before the change will no longer be contested in IWF sanctioned events. It is also why there are so many categories that still have world standards that have not yet been claimed by athletes in that weight class. Here are the weight classes with world standards yet to be hit:
Men’s Weight Classes
- 55-kilograms — Snatch
- 89-kilograms — Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Total
- 102-kilograms — Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Total
Women’s Weight Classes
- 45-kilograms — Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Total
- 71-kilograms — Snatch
- 81-kilograms — Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Total
- 87-kilograms — Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Total
As for the records have have been made in this new weight classes, did any of them surprise you? Let’s take a closer look at a few points worth noting on the Olympic weightlifting records chart:
- The USA currently has no active world records in any weight category. US lifter Sarah Robles ended America’s 16-year medal drought with a bronze in the Super Heavyweight (+75-kilogram) category at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. That category is now +87-kilogram which, from a world-records standpoint, has been dominated by China’s Wenwen Li.
- China has the most active records of any country with 25. That’s five times more than the North Korea, the country with the second most.
Note: these are the current world records in Olympic weightlifting, not just the Olympic records (aka records set at Olympic Games).
Yun Chol Om of North Korea set the clean & jerk and total world records in the -55-kilogram weight class at the 2019 IWF World Weightlifting Championships. He, of course, earned the gold at that event. His hit a 128-kilogram (282-pound) snatch at that event.
Fabin Li of China holds the snatch and total world record in the -61-kilogram weight class after his gold-medal performance at the 2019 IWF World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand. Although he does not currently hold the clean & jerk world record, he has hit an unofficial world record of 180 kilograms (397 pounds).
Eko Yuli Irawan of Indonesia’s clean & jerk of 174 kilograms (383.6 pounds) at the 2018 IWF World Championships is the current world record.
Huang Minhao of China hit the 155-kilogram snatch world record on July 6th, 2019 at an Olympics test event in Tokyo, Japan.
Jong Ju Pak’s clean & jerk world record of 188 kilograms (414.5 pounds) came at the 2019 IWF World Championships on his way to a bronze-medal finish. He other stats at that event were a 142-kilogram (313-pound) snatch and a 330-kilogram (727.5-pound) total.
At the 2019 IWF Asian Championships on April 21st, 2019, Lijun Chen hit the world-record total of 339 kilograms (747.4 pounds) comprised of the following lifts: 154-kilogram (339.5-pound) snatch and 185-kilogram (408-pound) clean & jerk. At the time, both of those lifts were world records.
Shi Zhiyong of China has been a dominant force in the -73-kilogram weight class as reflected by his name next to all three world records. Although it is not considered a world record due to taking place in a national competition, Zhiyong has hit a 199-kilogram (438.7-pound) clean & jerk at the 2020 Chinese National Championships. That means that the current Chinese clean & jerk record is a kilo heavier than the world record.
[Related: Sarah Davies, Lu Xiaojun Named To IWF Athletes Commission]
Mohamed Ihab of Egypt announced his retirement in late 2019. At his final appearance at the IWF World Championships in 2018, he secured the 173-kilogram (381.4-pound) snatch world record en route to a silver medal finish. He was bested only by Lu Xiaojun of China, who has five World Championship victories to his name.
Xiaojun is the 2012 London Olympic Games gold medalist and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games silver-medalist in the -77-kilogram weight class — he and Nijat Rahimov both posted a world-record 379-kilogram (835.6-pound) total. However, Rahimov’s bodyweight was .64 kilograms (1.4 pounds) less than Xiaojun, which was the deciding factor in the event of a tie.
Since the creation of -89-kilogram weight class, no athlete has yet hit any of the world standards in international competition.
At the 2018 IWF World Championships, Sohrab Moradi of Iran claimed the gold and set three world records with the following stats:
- Snatch — 186 kilograms (410 pounds)
- Clean & Jerk — 230 kilograms (507 pounds)
- Total — 416 kilograms (917 pounds)
It was not until the Olympic test event on July 7th, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan that Tao Tian bested Morabi’s clean & jerk world record by a single kilo.
Since the creation of -102-kilogram weight class, no athlete has yet hit any of the world standards in international competition.
Simon Martirosyan of Armenia holds all three current world records in the -109-kilogram class. Prior to the weight category change, he competed in the -105-kilogram class and earned a silver medal at the 2019 Rio Olympic Games. He’s also hit what might be one of the heaviest hang cleans ever of 230 kilograms (507 pounds).
Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia holds every record in the +109-kilogram weight class and has also hit the heaviest snatch ever filmed — 222 kilograms (489.4 pounds).
[Related: Oleksiy Torokhtiy Interviews Lasha Talakhadze On His Training Secrets]
Since the creation of -45-kilogram weight class, no athlete has yet hit any of the world standards in international competition.
En route to a gold medal at the 2019 IWF World Championships, Huihua, Jiang set the two world records she currently holds. Second place at that event was claimed by Zhihui Hou who had set a clean & jerk world record of 117 kilograms (258 pounds) right before Huihua broke it by one kilo on her final attempt.
Zhihui’s snatch world record came during the Olympic test event in Tokyo, Japan on July 6th, 2019.
At the 2018 IWF World Championships in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Yajun Li of China hit the current world record snatch before standing on the podium for a bronze medal.
At the 2019 IWF World Championships, China’s Qiuyun Liao scored both the clean & jerk and total world records along with a gold medal.
The snatch world record held by Hyo Sim Choe of North Korea was hit at 2019 IWF World Championships en route to a silver medal.
Hsing-Chun Kuo of Chinese Taipei hit the current clean & jerk and total world records at that same event, earning a gold medal. Hsing-Chun’s total was a single kilogram more than Hyo Sim Choe’s total.
At -64 kilograms, Wei Deng of China holds all three records including a massive 117-kilogram (257.9-pound) snatch. She won gold in the -63-kilogram class at the Rio Olympic Games and has won the IWF World Weightlifting Championships five times (2010, 2014-15, 2018-19).
Wangli Zhang of China holds the two current world record claimed in the -71-kilogram weight class. Both lifts were hit at her dominant gold-medal performance at the 2018 IWF World Championships. The snatch world standard has not yet been hit in this weight class — Wangli’s snatch at the 2018 IWF World Championships was two kilograms shy.
Wangli moved up in weight to compete at the 2019 IWF World Cup held in Fuzhou, China on Feb. 26th, 2019. She won that event with a then world record 274-kilogram (604-pound) total.
Jong Sim Rim hit both the snatch and total world records in 2019 at the IWF World Championships and IWF Asian Championships, respectively. She won gold in both events.
Since the creation of -81-kilogram weight class, no athlete has yet hit any of the world standards in international competition.
Since the creation of -87-kilogram weight class, no athlete has yet hit any of the world standards in international competition.
Wenwen Li (born March 5th, 2000) secured all world records in the +87-kilogram class in 2019. The snatch world record was hit at the 2019 IWF Asian Championships, which she won. The clean & jerk and total world record were both hit at the 2019 IWF World Championships where she won gold.
We’ll be updating this article in the future when world standard lifts are hit and world records are broken.