News and Media

Memorables

Just a “simple” handshake

Moment of the Year by Anikó Németh-Móra In my 34 years (!) with the IWF, I have been fortunate enough to witness and partake in many emotional and uplifting moments that burned into my memory. More often than not, I am not ashamed to admit, tears came to my eyes, especially when I saw again and again the power of sport. When I talk about the power of sport I refer mainly to its potential to bring together people and peoples, cultures, nations – sometimes on opposite sides of the frontline – religions or even political enemies. That is a capacity of sports unparalleled by any other walk or sphere of life. Therefore, to me the highlight of 2011 was not one of the fantastic world records or battles on the weightlifting platform that abounded last year like in many seasons before, but something that happened on another stage away from the competition. According to tradition, at the Closing Banquet of the Junior World Championships in Penang, Malaysia, the Eleiko-IWF Press Commission Best Lifter Trophies were presented. The women’s prize went to Deng Wei, a Chinese girl in 58kg, while the journalists voted Iran’s prodigy, 85kg Kianoush Rostami to receive the men’s Best Lifter award. Actually, another Chinese girl, Kang Yue came to the stage to take over the trophy for her teammate. When it came to posing for the photographers, the two winners, holding the beautiful glass trophies in their one hand, turned to each other, smiling, and shook hands. A simple handshake between two outstanding young athletes – what is so special about it?, you may ask. However, that handshake was symbolic. We should know that in Iran, according to tradition and morals, men are not supposed to shake hands with women. Therefore, Rostami’s gesture that came so natural and obvious, out of joy and respect for a fellow competitor, was significant – of course in a different environment. In the environment of sport, friendship and fair competition. Whereas Rostami’s deep-rooted and honest faith and conviction, as well as his full devotion and loyalty to his country cannot and should not be questioned, to me it also showed that he is the same as young people anywhere in the world. We found that handshake so becoming that we decided to put it on the cover of World Weightlifting, hoping that its true message will not be misunderstood. After many similar experiences in my years with weightlifting, I firmly believe that without hurting one’s integrity, sport will continue to break barriers and unite people. Anikó Németh-Móra IWF Director Senior Editor World Weightlifting Send your Most Memorable Moment of 2011 to Dezso Dobor, IWF Media Officer (dezso.dobor@iwfnet.net) or the IWF Secretariat in order to be

Matthias Steiner: My little son fondles my leg

Moment of the Year by Emanuel Reinke The nightmare of Matthias Steiner came suddenly without any warning. In September in the training camp organized for the best German and French athletes in the French town of Vittel the superheavy gold medallist of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing had to stop training due his injury on his left knee, that forced him to walk on crutches. No training, no competitions, no weightlifting – for months. „After the surgery my pain was during the first two nights“, said Steiner to the Sport-Informations-Dienst (SID), by having missed the German championship and the World Championship as well. A terrifying fact for the sportsman, who trained the whole year with just the tournament of Paris on his mind. „I really wanted to become World Champion in November“, said the 2010 Clean and Jerk champion, who won't make the European Championship in Antalya in April also: „I'm not going to be fit and competitive enough", he said to a German TV station. Steiner’s goal for the New Year is different. „The Olympics in London are very realistic. And I am absolutely focusing on it“, said the 29-year old Steiner, who became world famous for one of the most emotional moments in Beijing 2008, when he presented a photography of his deceased wife at the award ceremony. Today Steiner is married again with the former German tv-host Inge Posmyk, and his little son who was born in 2010. Besides the pain, the surgery and the sleepless nights, there is something good for the Austrian born Steiner, who got the German citizenship in the beginning of 2008. Now he finally has a lot of time to spend with his family. „I really enjoy it. The little boy always climbs on me. And if he comes too close to my leg, I just say 'Daddy oouch', and he starts to fondle my leg“, said Steiner. Emanuel Reinke, Sport-Informations-Dienst Send your Most Memorable Moment of 2011 to Dezso Dobor, IWF Media Officer (dezso.dobor@iwfnet.net) or the IWF Secretariat in order to be

My son made me proud

Moment of the Year by Horacio Reis Four years ago, the Pan American Games were held on home soil, in Rio de Janeiro. Fernando Reis was just 17 and participated in an experiment to become a real athlete. Well, we knew that to continue we have to change everything, namely the trainer and the system of trainings. We had a completely different way to run. It was a crucial moment in our lives, a real challenge. We lived every day as prepared to battle. Then Fernando went to train with Luis Fernando Lopez in Ecuador for 40 days, at an altitude of 2,700 meters. They worked hard seven hours per day. After this intense period, Fernando had his trainings in Chile. It was a tough year. In 2010 Fernando began his studies at the University in the USA. He participated in his first South American Games in Medellin (Colombia) getting a silver medal. This medal reinforced that we were on the right track. The results began to appear and Fernando collected bronze medal at the Junior World Championship in Sofia (Bulgaria). A World Championships medal for Brazil, neither in soccer or judo, nor in volleyball or swimming but in weightlifting! At the National College Championships and American Open Fernando performed very well, winning them all. The next task of 2011 was a really big challenge: Pan American Games, in Guadalajara (Mexico). Fernando locked the enrollment at the university in order to devote himself to hard preparation in Brazil for a period of six months with an intense training. Embarked on a mission to Guadalajara, hardest of our lives, bringing a medal for Brazil. Fernando competed as never before. He was almost perfect. It was gold. As team leader and Fernando’s father I was so proud of his devotion and achievement as he could reach this level. No doubt this was the most memorable moment of 2011, for me. HORACIO REIS Diretor do Depto.de Lev. de Peso do ECP Vice-Presidente da Conf. Brasileira Send your Most Memorable Moment of 2011 to Dezso Dobor, IWF Media Officer (dezso.dobor@iwfnet.net) or the IWF Secretariat in order to be

Attending the 2011 IWF World Championships

Moment of the Year by Kulsoom Abdullah People asked me what the experience was like? My weightlifting journey started by myself, I was determined to build strength. I did what I could do on my own, finding information on the Internet, such as resources for women’s weightlifting without a traditional commercial gym bias. I could not go heavy, drop weights, or use chalk, let alone, learn how to clean and jerk. Completing my graduate studies, I needed to find a gym outside of my university. I ultimately did find a gym (Crossfit Atlanta) that had weightlifters teaching the Olympic lifts, so I gained support, no longer alone in my efforts. It took over 2 years of training and encouragement from my trainers, because I thought I was not good or strong enough, till I finally had the confidence to compete. My next personal struggle, after achieving a qualifying total, was attending national meets in religious covering. After the IWF ruling and attending national qualifying meets, I learned more about the sport and met other weightlifters in the USA. This led to my memorable experience: attending the 2011 World Weightlifting Championships. There I observed and experienced the different facets of the sport. It is not just about who lifts the most and wins, though the medalists are to be commended for their time, efforts and success. I felt the energy of the audience cheering for the athletes, from their home country or their competitors, who vicariously felt their success and disappointments. Meeting people from so many countries was a great experience. Though a competition, everyone was friendly and encouraging - coaches, athletes, officials and spectators. People from different countries/teams interacted like old friends. People asked me what the experience was like? How much do the other ladies lift? Everyone is surprised and very few realize the magnitude achieved. Many have a stereotype of a weightlifter’s appearance. Brute strength is not only involved - skill, speed and power is also required to defy gravity on the platform. I hope to continue relaying the spirit of sporting competition to others, encouraging them that when one puts time and effort, regardless of who you are, what you can do is beyond expectations. Kulsoom Abdullah Kulsoom Abdullah is a Pakistani-American computer engineer (she finished her PhD in Electrical/Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta), who has been training weightlifting for three years. Kulsoom first attended World Championships in Paris in 2011. Send your Most Memorable Moment of 2011 to Dezso Dobor, IWF Media Officer (dezso.dobor@iwfnet.net) or the IWF Secretariat in order to be

The last wish of a father

Moment of the Year by Paul Coffa What a tragic World Championships it was for a young weightlifter from Palau, Stevick Patris – especially as it was his first ever World Championships. This young athlete had been coached by his father ‘Steve Patris’ the President of the Palau Weightlifting Federation and Category 1 Referee, since the age of 14. The Patris family has a long history in the Pacific region as a weightlifting family. Steve Patris took over the Presidency of the Weightlifting Federation in Palau in the year 2000. First, he coached his two daughters Alexandra and Alexandrina, affectionately known as the Patris twins in the region. These two girls won many medals competing at Pacific Games, Mini Games, Oceania Championships and other major events. In fact Alexandrina competed in the 63kg category at the 2007 World Championships in Thailand. These twins, with similar names, are identical. They are so identical that many times they caused problems and confusion at the weigh-in. When their father Steve brought the twins to the Institute to train, I had to ask one twin to put a colored ribbon in her hair because I had no idea which one was. Some days, just to be cheeky they would swap the ribbon and whilst I thought I was speaking to Alexandra, I was actually speaking to her twin sister Alexandrina. Early in 2011, we found out that Steve Patris was not well. He sent me an email requesting assistance for his son Stevick with his preparation for the Pacific Games which were to be held in New Caledonia in September 2011. At the time I was not aware of the extent of Steve’s illness. So with the assistance of the Palau Olympic Committee, young Stevick Patris came to train at the Institute in New Caledonia. He arrived in the June at the age of 19, at a bodyweight of 62kg and was doing 95kg Snatch and 120kg Clean & Jerk. By the Pacific Games on September 4th, Stevick won a silver medal in the Clean & Jerk with 131kg and a bronze medal in the Total with 233kg. He competed against lifters like Manuel Minginfel from Micronesia one of the best Oceania lifters ever and silver medallist in the Clean & Jerk at the 2006 World Championships in Santo Domingo. Stevick’s father, Steve was absolutely delighted when told that his son had won two medals in New Caledonia. And from his bedside he requested the Palau Olympic Committee that young Stevick stay at the Institute to prepare for the 2011 IWF World Championships Paris, France. During this period of time, Steve’s health deteriorated rapidly. He asked that no matter what happens that young Stevick was to continue with his training and compete in Paris. But what we didn’t know was just how sick he was then. Very sadly only a few days before Stevick was to leave for Paris, he received a telephone call from the family to inform him that his father had passed away. “And that his father’s last wish was for his son to compete in the World Championships in Paris”. The family postponed the funeral, so that young Stevick could compete in Paris. He returned to Palau immediately after competing for the funeral. It was a tragedy for this young lifter to compete under these conditions. Furthermore, the return flight was 30 hours from Paris to Palau as he travelled alone to return for his father’s funeral. Yet the admiration he gained for his bravery was immense from his fellow regional lifters, for competing under these circumstances. The World Championships proved to be too much for young Stevick. Unfortunately he only succeeded with his first Snatch and first Clean & Jerk and came last in the 62kg category. I suppose those lifters and officials who took part in that particular session, would have judged young Stevick’s performance as “below standard”. But for those who knew his circumstances, his courage and efforts, to all of us, was a gold medal performance. Regardless of his performance and his placing at the World Championships, young Stevick had fulfilled his father’s dream. Paul Coffa OWF GENERAL SECRETARY Send your Most Memorable Moment of 2011 to Dezso Dobor, IWF Media Officer (dezso.dobor@iwfnet.net) or the IWF Secretariat in order to be