Which of Today’s Stars Succeeded at the Junior World Championships?
More than 300 young men and women from a total of 53 countries are expected to gather in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, for the 2018 IWF Junior World Championships this week.
With the event running from July 6-14, a selection of top emerging talents in weightlifting will be following in the footsteps of the sport’s greats who have risen to greatness through past events.
From last year’s crop of gold medal-winners at the IWF Junior World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, it’s clear they have used their triumphs to help them succeed at senior level.
Graduating to success
In the men’s competition, Colombian Yeison Lopez, who claimed gold in the 77kg bodyweight category at last year’s Junior World Championships, followed up his success with a gold in the same category at the Pan-American Championships a month later.
Meanwhile several athletes from the women’s competition last year have gone on to become serious medal contenders in the sport’s senior events.
Thailand’s Thunya Sukcharoen said she was “overwhelmed” after she followed up her gold in the 48kg category in Tokyo with the top lift in the snatch and a second place Total at the 2017 IWF World Championships in Anaheim, USA.
Meanwhile, gold in the 58kg at last year’s Junior World Championships provided a launchpad for Latvian Rebeka Koha, who went on to claim a bronze in the same category at the World Championships and a gold at the
European Championships earlier this year.
For Neisi Dajomes of Ecuador, topping the podium in the 75kg last year led toimpressive silver medals at the 2017 South American Championships and World Championships before a gold rush this year at the Pan-American Championships, South American Games and South American Championships.
So who else dominated in past editions of the Junior World Championships?
Lasha got a taste for gold on the world stage for the first time at the 2013 Junior World Championships in Lima, Peru. A sensational display in the +105kg category five years ago was a sign of things to come for the Georgian, who has gone on to claim one Olympic title, two golds at the World Championships, three golds at the European Championships and the 2017 IWF Lifter of the Year Award.
Still only 28, Behdad has topped the podium at the 2012 Olympic Games, two World Championships, two Asian Games and three Asian Championships so far during a glittering career. However, his first major triumph came at the 2009 Junior World Championships in Bucharest, Romania, where he claimed top spot a year after finishing third at the previous edition of the Championships in Cali, Colombia.
At the 2007 Junior World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, Colombia’s Leidy Solis won gold to mark her first major success on the international stage. A full decade later, at the World Championships in Anaheim, Solis fulfilled a career-long goal by becoming world champion in the same bodyweight category – and in the process became the first athlete from Latin America to stand on the podium in this Women’s 69kg.
It’s worth remembering that it isn’t all about first place at the Junior World Championships. Anastasiia Hotfrid had to settle for second at the 2016 edition in front of her home fans in Tbilisi, Georgia. However, she has not looked back since, claiming gold in the Women’s 90kg at the 2017 World Championships and topping the podium again at the European Championships earlier this year.
The Junior World Championships is a clear marker for future stars of weightlifting. It’s a platform for the best and brightest juniors to show what they’re capable of. Who will make a name for themselves in Tashkent?
The 2018 IWF Junior World Championships will take place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from 7-14 July. Follow IWF on social media and on iwf.net for updates.