News Olympic Weightlifting QATAR 2023

IWF Grand Prix II Top Athletes Review: Who Will Win The Title?

Today we’re going to watch the next Paris qualifier event held in Doha, Qatar – Grand Prix II where the world’s elite weightlifters will gather to compete for medals for their countries and gain better ranking for being accredited to the 2024 Olympics.

It’s another unique chance for the weightlifting community, sports media, and weightlifting fans to spectate the performance of their favorite giants in all 10 weight categories.

Although all the attention will be drawn just to 5 of them, which are Olympics ones, namely 61 kg, 73 kg, 89 kg, 102 kg, and +102 kg for men, and 49 kg, 59 kg, 71 kg, 81 kg, and +81 kg for women.

Focusing on the most competitive divisions, we prepared the list of the Top leading weightlifters in each category who are supposed to rock this brutal battle. Let’s move on!

Torokhtiy Media on IWF Grand Prix II
Torokhtiy Media on IWF Grand Prix II

Men’s +109 kg Category

The super heavyweight division where the athletes from Armenia, Georgia, and Bahrain are sharing the pedestal at every big world’s Championships. However, this time a 7-time world champion Lasha Talakhadze won’t compete at Grand Prix II, the list of supposed leaders is as follows:

  • Gor Minasyan, a 29-year-old Armenian lifter from Bahrain, closes this Top 3 by lifting 212 kg in Snatch, 247 kg in Clean&Jerk, and a total of 459 kg. He took gold at the Asian Championships in Jinju with the results of 217-247-464, and silver at the World Championships in Bogota with a total of 462 kg.
  • Varazdat Lalayan, a 24-year-old Armenian weightlifter who did the total by 460 kg with a gap of 13 kilos compared to Lasha in Riyadh, with 212 kg in Snatch and 248 kg in Clean&Jerk. He’s a three-time medalist at the European Weightlifting Championships by getting silver at the European Championships in Yerevan.
  • Simon Martirosyan, 26-year-old Armenian Olympic silver medalist, two-time World Champion, and two-time European Champion, a current World Record holder in Totals of 435 kg in 109 weight class he showed in 2018 at the Worlds Championships in Ashgabat. In Riyadh, he was 5th, but managed to get silver in Clean & Jerk of 250 kg. Now, he’s ranking 2nd with the entry total of 450 kg and hopes to rock the category in Qatar.
Simon Martirosyan At The WWC 2023 In Riyadh
Simon Martirosyan At WWC 2023 In Riyadh

Men’s 102 kg Category

  • Fares El-Bakh, aka Meso Hassouna, a 25-year-old Qatari weightlifter, Olympic Champion, World Champion and two-time Junior World Champion. By clinching gold at the Olympics 2020, he set an Olympic record lift of 225 kg in Clean & Jerk, with a total of 402 kg that is also an Olympic record. Due to his impressive lifts he became the first Qatari Olympic Champion. His best lift was at the Qatar Cup in 2019 where he did 176 kg in Snatch, 228 kg in Clean & Jerk, and total of 404 kg.
  • Garik Karapetyan, a 20-year-old Armenian athlete who is a 2023 European Champion. In 2019 at the Youth World Championships he won silver in the 89-kg division with a total of 305 kg. This year he also claimed silver at the Youth European Championships, but in the 96-kg category, with 355 kg total. Just in a year Garik became a World Champion at Youth Worlds with 370 kg. In Yerevan, in the 102-kg category, he showed 178-214-392 by winning gold. At the Worlds in Riyadh he ranked 5th with a total of 393 kg.
  • Liu Huanhua, a 22-year-old Chinese weightlifter who has been switching weight categories over the years, starting his professional performance from 81-kg class, now is competing in the 102-kg division. He’s a gold medalist of the 2023 Asian Championships, a gold winner of the Asian Games 2022, bronze and gold medalist at the World Championships in 2022 and 2023. His best performance was in Riyadh at Worlds where he proved his supremacy with 180 kg in Snatch, 224 kg in Clean & Jerk, and 404 kg total.
Meso Hassouna and His Coaches Team
Meso Hassouna and His Coaches Team At WWC 2023 In Riyadh

Men’s 89 kg Category

This weight division is ranked to be one of the most competitive ones where 4 powerhouses are competing for the gold. However, Chinese giant Tian Tao won’t compete because of shoulder surgery two weeks ago.

  • Li Dayin, a 26-year-old Chinese weightlifter and Asian Champion who set 3 World Records and holds the Snatch Junior World Record in the 81 kg division, as well as the Snatch of 180 kg and 396 kg Total Senior World Record in the 89 kg weight class. 
  • Karlos Nasar, a 19-year-old Bulgarian powerful weightlifter who succeeded in setting 5 world records in one day in Junior and Senior weight divisions, namely 221 kg in Clean & Jerk and 395 kg in total. However, they were beaten a few days later by Chinese lifters Tian Tao and Li Dayin. Despite the Achilles tendon injury, Karlos recovered quickly and has already performed two times at the Bundesliga season, showing incredible lifts of 165 kg in Snatch, 216 kg in Clean & Jerk, and 381 kg total. This is a good sign of his recovery, proving that he’s ready to show his peak form at the Grand Prix II.
Karlos Nasar At WWC 2023 In Riyadh
  • Nino Pizzolato, a 27-year-old Italian Olympian, three-time European champion, with Personal Bests and setting World Records in 2022 with 217 kg in Clean & Jerk and 392 kg in totals, today Nino Pizzolato stays a leader for the Italian team, despite the prior back injury. The last Worlds in Riyadh was a total loss for Nino: he bombed out to snatch 168 kg as he was completely out of focus. But, this time Nino is ready to compete with his opponent Karlos Nasar.
  • Keydomar Vallenilla, a Venezuelan 24-year-old lifter who won the silver medal in the 96 kg division in Tokyo. Later he won the gold medal in the 89 kg event at the 2022 Worlds in Bogota. He has no equal on the American continent. He’s always in the Top 3 athletes at the continental and world competitions. In Qatar, he’s going to show his determination to show much better results intending to win a title.

Men’s 73 kg Category

  • Wichuma Weeraphon, a 19-year-old Thai weightlifter who had already made a sensation at the previous World Championships in Riyadh by winning gold and becoming a World Champion. Also, he’s a bronze medalist at the 2022 Championships and a silver medalist at the 2023 Asian Championships. Each competition he shows stable progress by lifting totals of 323 kg in 2022, 342 kg in 2023 in Jinju, and 349 kg in the 2023 WWC in Riyadh.
  • Shi Zhiyong, a 30-year-old Chinese lifter, two-time Olympic Champion, three-time World Champion, and four-time Asian Champion. His titles and rewards speak for themselves – this is a real weightlifting giant who has no equal. He holds the current world records in the 73 kg class for the Snatch of 169 kg and total of 364 kg.

Men’s 61 kg Category

  • Li Fabin, a  30-year-old Chinese weightlifter, Olympic gold medalist, World Champion, and four-time Asian Champion. This is another incredibly skillful and experienced lifter who shows such unbelievable results. After his win in Riyadh Worlds, he has almost one month to recover and train for the Asian Championships in Jinju where he also took gold. He’s also a current World Record holder in Snatch of 145 kg, 175 kg in Clean & Jerk, and total of 318 kg.
  • Ding Hongjie, a 21-year-old Chinese lifter, the 2023 World’s bronze medalist. He debuted at the World Championships in 2022 in the 67-kg division by finishing 17th with the result of 290 kg in total. In 2023, at the Asians he ranked 4th with a total of 305 kg in the same category. In the Worlds in Riyadh competing in the 61-kg class of Group B, Ding won bronze with 301 kg total.

Now, here’s the list of the most competitive female weightlifters at this World Cup who are supposed to be the leaders in their weight categories. Let us just remind you some of the greatest accomplishments in their career, so you’ll see why these lifters deserve being mentioned here.

Women’s +81 kg Category

  • Lo Ying-Yuan, a 27-year-old Taiwanese weightlifter competing at the 87-kg weight division. In 2023 she won the gold medal at the World Championships in Riyadh with the results of 112 kg in Snatch, 133 kg in Clean & Jerk, and 245 kg total. She is also a three-time medalist at the Asian Championships: she won gold in 2023 in Jinju, and silver in 2017 and 2022.
  • Yeinny Geles, a 27-year-old Colombian weightlifter who competes in the 87-kg category. She’s a silver medalist of the 2023 World Champs in Riyadh; and also, is a two-time medalist at the Pan American Championships. Her personal bests are 249 kg in total, 111 kg in Snatch, and 138 kg – C&J which she did in 2022 in Bogota at the Pan Ams.
  • Li Wenwen, a 23-year-old Chinese weightlifter from the +87-kg weight class who won the Olympic gold in 2020, and is the current world and Asian champion. In 2021, she set the current world records for C & J and Snatch – 187 kg and 148 kg respectively. She has numerous titles under her belt: an Olympic champion, two-time World Champion, three-time Asian Champion holding a record of 335 kg total, 187 kg in Clean & Jerk, and 148 kg in Snatch.
Lo Ying-Yuan At WWC 2023 In Riyadh

Women’s 81 kg Category

  • Eileen Cikamatana, a 24-year-old Australian weightlifter who represented Fiji. Previously she competed in the women’s 90 kg class at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, by getting gold. Because of a dispute between Weightlifting Fiji and the breakaway group Fiji Weightlifters Association, Eileen was ineligible to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Her latest Worlds were in 2022 where she won silver in the 87-kg division with 249 kg in total. In Riyadh, Cikamatana became third in the 81-kg category. She made huge gains in her junior career in her lifts: at the 2019 World Cup in China she set two junior world records in Clean & Jerk of 150 kg and total of 260 kg by winning gold.
  • Wang Zhouyu, a 29-year-old Chinese weightlifter won gold  at the 2020 Olympics in the 87-kg division. Along her professional career, she always shows great results: she’s a gold medalist at the Worlds in 2018 and 2019 competing in different categories, 76 kg and 87 kg. Also, Wang won silver medals at the Worlds in 2022 in Bogota and 2023 in Riyadh in the 81 kg division.
  • Liang Xiaomei, a 26-year-old Chinese athlete won two golds at the World Championships in 2022 resulting in 270 kg, and 2023 with 281 kg, both in the 81 kg category. She’s also the 2023 Asian Champion with the result of 275 kg in total.

Women’s 71 kg Category

  • Liao Guifang, a 21-year-old Chinese weightlifter, became a World Record holder by winning the gold medal at the World Championships in Riyadh with 275 kg in total. She also competed at the 2022 Words, finishing fourth. In 2023 at the Asian Championships, she set two world records in Clean & Jerk and total.
  • Giulia Miserendino, is a 21-year-old Italian weightlifter, the 2023 European silver medalist, resulting in 230 kg. In 2019, she was competing at the European junior championships winning gold, and later this year she took silver among juniors at the Worlds.
  • Toma Loredana, a 28-year-old Romanian weightlifter, two-time World Champion and four-time European Champion. Starting from 2017 she constantly wins gold in all rounds at the European Championships.
Giulia Miserendino At WWC 2023 In Riyadh
Giulia Miserendino At WWC 2023 In Riyadh

Women’s 59 kg Category

  • Pei Xinyi, a 19-year-old Chinese weightlifter, a World Champion, winning gold in 2022 in the 64-kg division and setting 5 youth world records. At the 2023 Asians in Jinju she set 4 junior world records in the 59-kg class resulting in 236 kg. At the prior Worlds in Riyadh, she won bronze with 232 kg in total.
  • Luo Shifang, a 22-year-old Chinese weightlifter who became a gold medalist at the WWC in Riyadh with the result of 243 kg total. A year earlier, at the World Championships in Bogota she became 4th in the 64-kg division finishing with 230 kg.
  • Kamila Konotop, a 22-year-old Ukrainian weightlifter who won silver at the 2023 World Championships in Riyadh with the results of 106-130-236. She is a three-time medalist, including two gold medals at the European Weightlifting Championships in 2021 and 2023 accordingly. She set European records in the Snatch, Clean & Jerk and Total events, with the results of 106 kg, 129 kg, and 235 kg at the Europeans in Yerevan.
Kamila-Konotop 2023 European Weightlifting Championships
Kamila Konotop at 2023 European Weightlifting Championships

Women’s 49 kg Category

  • Hou Zhihui, a 26-year-old Chinese athlete,  Olympic champion, World champion, and two-time Asian champion. Her best total was 213 kg she did at the 2020 Asian Championships, Clean & Jerk of 117 kg, and Snatch of 96 kg.
  • Giulia Imperio, a 21-year-old Italian weightlifter who won gold at the 2022 European Championships in Tirana. She also won two gold medals at the 2022 Mediterranean Games. Till 2019 she was competing in the Junior World and European Championships, and her first senior division person was at the Europeans in 2021. At the last World Championships in Riyadh, she ranked 11th in her category.
  • Jourdan Delacruz, a 25-year-old American weightlifter, a bronze medalist at the World Championships and a four-time medalist, including three gold medals at the Pan American Championships. At the previous Worlds in Riyadh, she won the bronze medal with 200 kg total and 112 kg in Clean & Jerk. At the Worlds in Bogota Jourdan ranked 7th, but at the same year at the Pan Ams she managed to clinch silver with 191 kg totally.
Giulia Imperio preparing for IWF Grand Prix II

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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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