2018 IWF Weightlifting World Championships: Who and how to watch

Over 650 athletes are gathering in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Find out when they compete here.

A record total of over 650 athletes from 91 countries will compete at the IWF Weightlifting World Championships in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from 1–10 November.

The championships is the first event in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifying cycle and new weight categories introduced for this year mean world records will be set in the Turkmeni capital.

Ten weight categories will be contested in each gender, an increase from eight in 2017.

With medals awarded for the snatch, clean and jerk, and aggregate total, a total of 60 sets of medals will be handed out.

Competition will take place in the city's Martial Arts Arena, one of the host venues for last year's Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

Powerhouse nations return

IWF President Tamas Ajan has called this event "a new chapter" as the sport attempts to bounce back from doping scandals and retain its Olympic status.

Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, China and Turkey all served one-year bans and missed last year's World Championships after three or more positive retests from Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

All nine nations are back in Ashgabat, and the IWF has beefed up its anti-doping procedures to meet requirements set out by the IOC last December.

To be eligible for Tokyo 2020, athletes must compete a minimum of six times in 18 months and be ready to provide a sample at "any time and any place".

There will be seven weight divisions in Tokyo with each country, as long as they have had fewer than 10 doping violations since 2008, able to send a maximum of four men and four women.

Having amassed more than 20 violations in that period, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus will be restricted to one man and one woman apiece.

China won two men's and three women's golds at Rio 2016 and this will be the country's return to major competition after missing last year's Worlds and August's Asian Games.

New weight divisions

All eyes are on the Rio 2016 Olympic and Anaheim 2017 world champions, many of whom will face new opponents as a result of the changes to the weight divisions.

Colombia's Francisco Mosquera missed Rio 2016 with a knee injury, but came back to win clean and jerk and overall gold in the 62 kg division in Anaheim.

He has dropped down in weight to the new 61 kg category where he will meet Rio silver medallist Eko Yuli Erawan of Indonesia and Japan's world silver medallist Yoichi Itokazu.

Also in the field is Vietnamese lifter Kim Tuan Thach who won all three golds at 56 kg last year but has opted to move up to 62 kg rather than go down to the new 55 kg class.

Mosquera's compatriot Oscar Figueroa is another lifter moving up a weight.

He announced his retirement after winning 62 kg gold at Rio, but returned to action in March and is on the 67 kg entry list in Ashgabat.

Champions face off

Two Olympic champions will go head-to-head in the new 73 kg category.

China's 69 kg gold medallist from Rio, 25-year-old Zhiyong Shi, will face Kazakh Nijat Rahimov who was the 77kg champion in Brazil.

Defending world 69 kg champion Jeongsik Won is also in a stellar line-up.

There will be six reigning Olympic champion male lifters in action including the winners of the three heaviest divisions in Rio.

Iran's 94 kg gold medallist and 2017 world champion Sohrab Moradi competes at 96 kg, while Rio 105 kg one and two, Ruslan Nurudinov of Uzbekistan and Armenia's Simon Martirosyan, do battle again in the 109 kg.

And Georgia's Lasha Talakhadze, Olympic champion and twice defending world champion at +105 kg, will bid for a hat-trick of world crowns in the new +109 kg category.

Women step up

There will be gender equality for the first time at the Weightlifting World Championships with women now competing in 10 weight categories, up from seven last year.

While just five competitors will lift at each of 45 kg and 81 kg, there are no fewer than 65 entrants at 64 kg.

Thailand's Sukanya Srisurat was Olympic 58 kg champion but had to settle for silver behind Chinese Taipei's Hsing-Chun Kuo at last year's World Championships and in the Asian Games.

The two will not meet in Ashgabat with Sukanya dropping down to 55 kg and Rio 2016 bronze medallist Kuo moving up to 59 kg.

North Korea did not send a team to last year's World Championships in Anaheim due to poor diplomatic relations with hosts the United States at that time but their lifters will be in Turkmenistan.

Double Olympic champion Jong Sim Rim bids for her first world title at 76 kg with her younger sister, fellow 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Un Sim Rim, taking on Rio 2016 63 kg champion Wei Deng at 64 kg.

Deng's fellow Chinese, Suping Meng, competes in the new +87 kg class having won gold at +75 kg in Rio.


(All times Ashgabat local time, UTC+5 hours)

1 NovWomen's 55kg DMen's 55kg CMen's 61kg CMen's 55kg BWomen's 45kg B
Women's 49kg C
2 NovMen's 67kg C
Men's 73kg D
Women's 55kg CWomen's 49kg BMen's 61kg BWomen's 45kg AMen's 55kg AMen's 73kg C
3 NovWomen's 59kg D
Women's 64kg E
Men's 67kg BWomen's 55kg BWomen's 49kg AMen's 61kg AWomen's 55kg AWomen's 59kg C
4 NovMen's 81kg DMen's 73kg BWomen's 59kg BMen's 67kg AWomen's 59kg AMen's 73kg AWomen's 64kg D
5 NovWomen's 64kg CMen's 81kg CMen's 81kg BWomen's 64kg BMen's 81kg AWomen's 64kg AWomen's 71kg C
6 NovMen's 96kg EMen's 89kg CWomen's 71kg BMen's 89kg BWomen's 71kg AMen's 89kg AMen's 96kg D
7 NovMen's 96kg CWomen's 76kg C
Women's 81kg B
Men's 96kg BWomen's 76kg BMen's 96kg AWomen's 76kg AMen's 102kg C
8 NovMen's 109kg DWomen's 87kg CWomen's 87kg BMen's 102kg BWomen's 81kg AMen's 102kg AMen's 109kg C
9 NovWomen's +87kg CMen's 109kg BWomen's +87kg BMen's 109kg AWomen's 87kg AMen's +109kg D
10 NovMen's +109kg CMen's +109kg BWomen's +87kg AMen's +109kg AClosing

All A sessions, ie. the snatch and clean and jerk for the top class of lifters, of the IWF World Championships will be streamed live on Olympic Channel.

(Geo-restricted territories include China, Poland, Spain, Russia, Brazil, USA, Kazakhstan, Armenia, India, Albania, Bulgaria, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Macedonia, Georgia, Romania, Belarus, New Zealand, Japan and Canada).

All other sessions will be broadcast live on the Organising Committee's website: www.ashgabat2018.com.

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