News Olympic Weightlifting QATAR 2023

IWF Grand Prix II Competition Overview

The 14th of December was the final day of one of the major weightlifting competitions in 2023 finalizing this year with a bang.

We witnessed striking performances of the world’s best weightlifters who showed us incredibly tense and competitive battles full of bright moments, unexpected wins and fails, new record holders and winners in each weight division. Indeed, the Grand Prix II in Qatar broke the bank in the world of weightlifting.

Let’s remind you about this event in several words: Grand Prix II is one of the major IWF qualifying events held from the 4th to the 14th of December in Doha, Qatar. The winners of this competition got better chances to secure the quotas for the summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Karlos Nasar's C&J Record at IWF Grand Prix II
Karlos Nasar’s C&J Record at IWF Grand Prix II

Categories Recap

We were spectating the incredible performances of 20 weight categories, namely 10 male and female, with just 10 Olympic divisions.


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The Group A categories’ favorites presented us with spectacular performances and tough battles with mind-blowing weights on the bar: the supposed leaders did remarkable lifts that resulted in triumph wins and breaking new records.

Let’s enlist the most outstanding accomplishments that impressed us in the Men’s and Women’s weight categories. These athletes showed themselves true warriors who never gave up and became national heroes for their countries.

Men’s results

Speaking about the Men’s categories, we can highlight the following athletes who succeeded to stand out at this Grand Prix in Doha:

73 Kilograms

is a four-time gold medalist of the European Youth Championships, and a European Champion in his current weight category. He succeeded in the Snatch session by performing all three lifts smoothly.

So, he got silver in this exercise. The same situation was in the Clean & Jerk session: he did all lifts with confidence and high focus. Eventually, he became the leader of the 73-kg weight category.

a two-time Olympic, three-time World, and four-time Asian Champion, and current World Record holder in Snatch of 169 kg, Clean & Jerk of 198 kg, and Totals of 364 kg. Resulting in gold in Snatch, Shi Zhiyong became second after his opponent Suharevs. His refusal from the second and third attempts in Clean & Jerk after his first attempt of 180 kg didn’t hinder him from winning the silver medal in totals.

81 Kilograms

He is a dark horse in the light middle-weightlifting division.  He was competing in both 73- and 81-kg weight categories simultaneously by setting World Records in Clean & Jerk with impressive 209 kilos for his weight.

Things that set Rahmat apart from the rest is setting two Clean & Jerk records in just one month across two different bodyweight categories – by showing 209 kg and 201 kg. Moreover, he even managed to beat his previous record in Clean & Jerk in the 2022 Championships of 200 kg.

89 Kilograms

is one of the youngest world record holders, who became champion in 2021 at the age of 17. He’s a total and two-time silver medalist at Europeans, four-time Youth European and World Cup Champion.

This time in Doha, he managed to reclaim his Clean & Jerk world record he set previously of 221 kg, but it was beaten by Tian Tao by 1 kilo. Karlos prevailed over his rivals by 12 kilos in the Clean & Jerk session, so no other athlete could get close to his result.

102 Kilograms

  • Fares Ibrahim El-Bakh (QAT) — 400 (176/224)

the first Qatari Olympic champion, World Champion, and two-time Junior World Champion, holding the Junior world record in Clean & Jerk and totals. He was expected to be today’s star who has all chances to win.

And indeed, he rocked the podium: by getting the bronze medal in Snatch of 176 kg, Meso rehabilitated and became a gold winner with the incredible lift of 224 kg that brought him victory in Clean & Jerk. He became a gold medalist in the division who did 400 kg overall, which was his fourth-best total result since his gold win at the Qatar Cup in 2019.

+109 Kilograms

  • Varazdat Lalayan (ARM) — 441 (200/241)

is a two-time silver and bronze medalist at the World Championships and two-time silver and bronze medalist at the European Championships. He won the gold medal by lifting 200 kg on the first attempt. Then, he became a winner in Clean & Jerk session with an incredible lift of 241 kg at the final attempt. So, he became the gold medalist in his weigh category with 441 kg overall.

  • Simon Martirosyan (ARM) — 430 (190/240)

is a two-time World Champion and two-time European Champion. He finished third in Snatch by lifting 190 kg on the first attempt and he was second in Clean & Jerk with a result of 240 kg on the second attempt. Thus, he became a silver medalist who got 430 kg overall.

Women’s Results

71 Kilograms

is the current World and Asian Champion who set two world records in the process. She got the second place in Snatch with 116 kg on the third try. In Clean & Jerk, she also saved silver with a result of 148 kg. Thus, Liao became a silver medalist with 264 kg in a sum of two movements.

is the 2023 World Championships and Pan Am Championships bronze medalist, and a Champion of the 2023 Pan Am Games. She succeeded in setting the new Junior World Record in Snatch by lifting 115 kg. By the way, it’s her personal best in this session.

81 Kilograms

is a two-time World Champion and current world record holder in Clean & Jerk in this weight class. She lifted 123 kg and got the gold medal in Snatch. She also became a gold winner in Clean & Jerk with an incredible 161 kg and a new Senior World Record. She became a gold medalist in the division with 284 kg overall. It was her best result and is also a new World Record.

During her 9 years at the international platform, she won 2 gold and 2 silver medals at the Worlds, also she is an Olympic Champion 2021 in Tokyo. She snatched 120 kg by securing second place, then clinched bronze by lifting 148 kg and resulting in 268 kg with silver.

is a 2-time Oceania Champion, Bronze, and Silver World medalist 2022 & 23 from Australia. Eileen Cikamatana won the bronze medal in the Snatch by lifting 112 kg, got silver in Clean & Jerk of 149 kg, and took bronze due to her total of 261 kg, which was her second-best result in her career. 

+87 Kilograms

  • Mary Theisen-Lappen (USA) — 283 (120/163)

the 2023 World Champ silver medalist, two-time Pan American gold medalist; at the Grand Prix II, she won bronze in Snatch by lifting 120 kg, became a gold winner with a strong lift of 163 kg, and 283 kg overall that brought her total supremacy over the opponents.

It was her best total result, as she improved her previous one by 6 kilos: at the World Championships in Riyadh, she finished with 277 kg which brought her a silver medal.

Set Records

  • Chinese Liang Xiaomei (81 kg)

Xiaomei set a victorious 161-kg Clean & Jerk for a new Senior world record. Performing her gold-medal-winning 123-kg Snatch, Xiaomei established a new world record in the Total of 284 kg.

Chinese Liang Xiaomei
  • American Olivia Reeves (71 kg)

A 20-year-old Olivia Reeves set three new Junior world records: the first record was in the Snatch session, when she lifted 115 kg. She also hit a 147-kg Clean & Jerk, and finished with a massive 262 kg, resulting in bronze overall.

Olivia Reeves
  • Bulgarian Karlos Nasar (89 kg)

Nasar lifted 223 kg in the Clean & Jerk, which is a 1-kg advancement on the previous record held by Chinese Tian Tao. He reclaimed his title of the World Record holder in C&J he set at the European Championships in Yerevan with 221 kg.

Olivia Reeves

Nagashima succeeded in setting the Youth World Record in Clean & Jerk: she managed to lift 131 kg on her second attempt. Thus, she became the first Japanese woman to hold a world record.

Nagashima Wakana
  • Kim Il Gyong (59 kg)

lifted 136 kg in C&J setting the Junior World Record.

  • Ri Suk (64 kg)

lifted 146 kg in C&J resulting in the Junior World Record.

Medal Statistics

The Chinese weightlifting team is the most dominant contingent who collected 23 medals in total – 11 gold, 9 silver, and 3 bronze medals that make them dominate the Qatar Grand Prix II.

Powerful weightlifters from Armenia took second place with 18 medals under their belts: 5 gold, 6 silver, and 7 bronze medals.

The team of the USA closed the Top 3 with 11 medals in total – 3 gold and 8 bronze wins.

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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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