Teenage sensation Li can raise Tokyo 2020 hopes in Junior World Championships
Li Wenwen, the most high-quality teenage talent in weightlifting, completed ahead of the reigning Olympic and international champions within the first two international competitions of her career this yr.
Now 19 years old, Li had by no means entered a significant opposition until 14 months ago.
But she ought to circulate to the top of the superb-heavyweight Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games scores by winning her first international identity in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Junior World Championships in Fiji, her first competition overseas.
Anybody without an in-depth knowledge of country wide-level younger lifters in China could by no means have heard of Li till February this yr when she made a sensational worldwide debut through finishing in advance of the Russian world champion Tatiana Kashirina in the IWF World Cup in Fuzhou.
In her 2d opposition some weeks later, Li completed nicely beforehand of her crewmate and Olympic champion Meng Spring to win the Asian Championships in Ningbo – and broke Kashirina’s senior seize world file within the process.
The Junior World Championships in Suva, which run for eight days from Saturday (June 1), could be her 0.33 international contest and her first at junior stage.
Her super efforts this year have given Li all three junior international data at super-heavyweight.
Her quality overall of 325kg, plus that international-report snatch of 147kg, make her a very sturdy favorite to win gold.
Li changed into noticed in her quiet town of Anshan by using coach Guan Yongmei on a recruitment excursion of Liaoning province.
She was inspired by way of Li’s mindset and her massive fingers and feet, and when Li commenced weightlifting on the age of 12, she should grasp 50kg and clean and jerk 70kg.
Two years later she moved to Fujian province to join the team led using the phenomenally a success teach Chen Wenbin, and he or she earned her place in China’s countrywide group ultimate September after appearing well in three Senior and Junior National Championships.
Li has excelled continuously in her education; however, instruct Guan idea she turned into not ready for opposition before closing April.
In her first senior look, Li lifted an impressive 316kg, and after prevailing the Chinese junior title (315kg) remaining May she completed beforehand of Meng at any other national competition, lifting 325kg.
Guan, who has been teaching for greater than 30 years, is a professional at building up young lifters, prioritizing power over technique at the outset, and loves to teach heavyweights.
She is hopeful that some of her athletes will compete on the Olympic Games in future and Li, who is now guided via a countrywide crew instruct, may be the first to achieve this if she can keep enhancing over the following 12 months or so.
With so many pinnacle-ranked women in several Olympic weight training and the possibility of Meng returning to pinnacle shape, Li still has a good deal work to do if she is to take one among China’s 4 locations for girls in Tokyo.
But Li is genuinely able to overtake Meng as her united states of America’s top contender in a weight class wherein China has a perfect file, having won gold four times in the 5 Games because girls’ weightlifting changed into brought to the program.
Another brilliant young extraordinary-heavyweight, the 20-12 months-antique Iranian Ali Davoudi, who also began lifting aged 12, is favorite to win the men’s event.
Like Li, Davoudi received the Asian Championships in Ningbo and additionally held all three junior international facts, with 197-237-432.
He won a countrywide identify elderly sixteen, after which he become invited to join the senior countrywide team.
“The tougher the training became, the greater I became fascinated,” he stated.
With Behdad Salimi having retired and Saeid Alihosseini out of the reckoning, Davoudi is Iran’s pinnacle contender within the terrific-heavyweights, although they have got handiest two men’s places in Tokyo.
“Thinking of the Olympic gold medal and making my circle of relatives and the human beings of my us of a happy is the first-class encouragement for me,” said Davoudi, who received last year’s Junior World title with 419kg.
The United States, Italy, and South Korea are the various nations hoping to continue their dazzling development and construct for the future.
Three Americans have gold medal possibilities although one in every one of them, Harrison Maurus in the men’s 81kg, has been getting better from an again harm.
The others are the 73kg favored CJ Cummings, who’s aiming for his fourth immediately junior global name, and Kate Nye within the girls’ 71kg, wherein she has rated nicely ahead of her competitors.
Others have a risk of creating the podium, and the united states are hopeful of its unfortunate consequences.
“We have never received golds at the Juniors before,” said Phil Andrews, leader government of USA Weightlifting.
“If we will have two world champions, and something from 3 to 5 medals, it would be superb for us and might give us an amazing examine wherein we are towards the relaxation of the sector.”
Italy also has a risk of its exceptional consequences and has high hopes of Lucrezia Magistris within the girls’ 55kg.
Genny Pagliaro and cutting-edge European champions, Mirco Scarantino and Antonino Pizzolato, all received lots of Junior World medals among 2004 and 2016, but none had been gold.
Fiji could have had a very sturdy gold medal contender in Eileen Cikamatana, a silver medallist in 2017, but instead is fielding a weakened team.
Cikamatana is one among many lifters involved in a damaging dispute with Fiji’s countrywide federation, which wanted to employ a brand new teach and pass the jacks from their home base in Levuka.
The dispute left Fiji without a countrywide team and, said Peni Tawai, who led the competition to the federation’s plans, “has positioned us again 40 years”.
When Cikamatana, 19, received the 81kg at an interstate competition in Australia lately her overall performance turned into described with the aid of Sam Coffa, the former IWF vice-president who has been involved in weightlifting for extra than 60 years, as “definitely sensational – I have by no means witnessed something find it irresistible”.
Cikamatana’s total of 268kg was a long way better than the pinnacle-ranked 81kg lifters at world junior and senior degree; however, she is in limbo and does not characteristic in the Tokyo 2020 scores.
The next time Cikamatana does compete it will likely be for Australia, as she is now living in Sydney and has been given permanent residence.