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The battle at the Men’s 89 kg weight category at the WWC 2023 in Riyadh

It was expected that the Men’s weight category of 89 kg would become the most thrilling one. Just imagine: since 2022 seven World Records have been set by such famous athletes as Antonino Pizzolato, Karlos Nasar, Li Dayin, and Tian Tao.

It’s supposed to be the hottest and most dramatic category, but something went wrong. Let’s clear up this statement by observing the most serious lifters in this weight class.

How things were going on before the competition day

Antonino has already recovered from the previous injury that happened at the European Championships in Yerevan. 

The Chinese team as usual stood out with its organization: Tian Tao and Li Dayin showed impressive Snatches and Clean&Jerks, and heavy squats. Let’s remember: Tian Tao set the World Record at the Asian Championships in C&J of 222 kg, while Li Dayin did Snatch of 180 kg and a total of 396 kg and broke two World Records. So, we have high expectations for one of these Chinese athletes: apparently, someone could become a winner.


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Arley Mendez came back to the weightlifting arena that nobody expected though. During the training sessions he looked very powerful and solid, especially in Snatches. But, for some reason he didn’t perform on the platform. Nevertheless, we succeeded in talking to him and recorded an interview.

Arley Mendez on WWC 2023

Keydomar Vallenilla, an experienced lifter, an Olympic medalist, and the last World Champion, potentially has all chances to win silver this time. He looks very confident, powerful, and stable.

What about the warm-up area, it’s also another separate and interesting part of the Qualifying competition. Lots of interesting things happen there: you feel an intense psychological struggle, where each athlete stands literally in front of his opponent. 

It was also interesting to see the flow inside the training hall: while Keydomar practices snatches, Chinese athletes are just walking around, or rolling, or lifting empty barbells.

Snatch results: Nino is out of the chance to become a medalist

The lowest weights were in Keydomar from Venezuela who did all attempts successfully by 161 kg, 165 kg, and 171 kg, resulting in bronze.

The first disappointment of that evening was that Antonino Pizzolato failed to snatch 168 kg in three attempts as he was completely out of focus. The silver medal was taken by Martin Robu from Moldova who did 169 kg. Andranik Karapetyan from Armenia became the gold medalist who lifted 175 kg at the third attempt.

What about Chinese athletes, Tian Tao snatched 168 kg, but failed to lift 173 kg and 176 kg. Li Dayin had a lot of problems at this competition: he felt pain in his palm during exercising. Therefore, he managed to lift just 170 kg successfully in the thirst attempt.

Clean&Jerk drama: leaders’ fail and China gets ‘no lifts’

The things were quite different with the C&J exercise. The Snatch leaders – Armenian and Moldavian lifters showed poor results, while the Venezuelan Keydomar took bronze with his emotional lift of 210 kg. 

Li Dayin took silver with his 213 kg. Tian Tao had three ‘no lifts’ with the attempts to lift 209 kg – he did Clean, but no Jerk, next 212 kg ended up with the same result, and 214 kg – no lift and no total.

The C&J winner was Iranian Mostafa Javadi who lifted 215 kg.

Javadi AliabadiIn In Riyadh 2023 Men’s 89kg
Javadi AliabadiIn In Riyadh 2023 C&J 215kg

After the competition we asked Tian Tao what was the reason for his unsatisfactory results. The athlete joked that it happened because of his haircut. Karlos Nasar also shared his opinion with us: despite that he didn’t compete this time because of the recovery after the injury, he admitted that he wasn’t impressed with the overall performance and results in the Men’s 89 kg class.

To sum up all surprising and thrilling moments in the Men’s 89 kg division, no matter what weight class, every athlete should be ready for unexpected moments in the world of competitive sports.

Read the full report about each day of IWF World Championships 2023 in Riyadh prepared by our media team. Don’t miss the opportunity to stay updated and follow this great event in the Olympic weightlifting world with us from the very beginning till the end!

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Tanya Shaiko

Author: Tanya Shaiko
News Editor, Olympic Lifting Enthusiast

Oly Lifting Experience: 6 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 61 kg,
C&J – 78 kg

I’m Tanya, and I just can’t do without fitness. About six years ago, I got into Olympic weightlifting and instantly fell in love with it. Weightlifting is like no other sport – it’s just you versus the bar. Driven by my unwavering passion for an active lifestyle, I’ve been eager to share my personal journey and sports enthusiasm with others. As a journalist and photographer, my interests come full circle, adding an extra dimension to the news column that I curate. This way, I keep my readers updated with the latest happenings in the sports world.

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