Just weeks before lifting started, the men’s 94kg class in Rio looked to be a battle between several accomplished lifters. By the time Saturday rolled around, the field looked much thinner than anticipated; after arriving in Brazil, brothers Tomasz and Adrian Zielinski were removed from competition due to positive doping tests taken earlier this summer, leaving the door wide open for Iran’s Sohrab Moradi to take gold. Moradi made just three lifts on the day, but he really only needed two to win.
The Iranian — who was at one point early this year rumored to have retired, only to return in full force at the Fajr Cup and with impressive training videos on social media — opened his snatches after every other lifter had already gone. He failed his first attempt but nailed his second and third, finishing that portion with 182kg.
Moradi’s first clean & jerk at 221kg ended up being the heaviest lift on the day. After other competitors failed at higher weights, Moradi took two attempts at establishing a new World Record of 234kg, but couldn’t secure the weight; it’s a number he hit earlier this summer in an Iranian national competition. He finished with a 403kg total, which would have earned him 5th place in the same weight class in London.
The men’s 94kg podium is as follows:
1. Sohrab Moradi (Iran)
2. Vadzim Straltsou (Belarus)
3. Aurimas Didzbalis (Lithuania)
Moradi finished eight kilos ahead of Straltsou, but the competition was even less close than the results would imply on paper, as the Iranian seemed in control for most of the session. Straltsou made only his openers in both lifts, but that was good enough for second place.
Didzbalis missed his first two snatch attempts but came back to nail his final at 177 before making two clean & jerks to finish in third.
Sarat Sumpradit of Thailand was the only lifter in the A session to make all six lifts, good for fourth place overall.
Interestingly, Moradi’s countryman and 85kg Olympic Champion Kianoush Rostami — who totaled 396kg — would have finished in second place in the 94kg class.
American lifter Kendrick Farris competed in the B session earlier in the day and finished with a 357 total, which put him in 11th overall. This was Farris’ third Olympics in a row, and he was the only American male in this year’s weightlifting competition.
Featured image: @IWFnet on Instagram