News Olympic Weightlifting WWC2023

The Battle at 109+ kg Category: Behind the Scenes of the WWC 2023 in Riyadh

The Men’s super heavyweight division stands out from the rest of the weight classes. This time we’re going to get insights into this powerhouse category of 109+ kg in the World Weightlifting Championships in Saudi Arabia.

For the 7th year in a row, a tricky question occurs whether there are any chances and hopes for the goal, apart from the unchanging host of this weight category the Georgian lifter Lasha Talakhadze.

The tough contest between top three Armenian lifters against Georgian Talakhadze

It’s obvious that there are three other best lifters in the category: Varazdat Lalayan, Gor Minasyan, and Simon Martirosyan. All of them are natives of Armenia, although Gor presents Bahrain.

At the training hall Lasha trains by lifting 210 kg in Snatch and 252 kg in Clean & Jerk. To be sincere, he looked much more confident during lifting at the training here than he did in Yerevan last spring.


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The most interesting and hot thing to spectate was the training of the Armenian and Bahraini teams, where three powerful guys – Lalayan, Minasyan, and Martirosyan, were preparing to compete with the division’s title holder Talakhadze. They were training and did all the lifting together, even warming up at the same platform before the competition.

They were lifting in the traditional Armenian style, mainly heavy singles in Snatch and Clean & Jerk, squatting with loaded barbells for several reps, and performing various complexes.

What about Simon Martirosyan,  he posted a video of his 270 kg Jerk from the rack. And he also added weight to keep the good form in this Championship.

Dynamic tense growth on the platform: the Snatch exercise

Perhaps, the distribution of the places on the podium was already predicted by the experts, but the excitement still exists for the audience. The intrigue and temperature in the training hall began to rise. Did this Armenian gang really prepare such a powerful form? 

So, the first to perform in the warm-up area were those who were asked for the lighter openers. When Simon snatched 100 kg, Lalayan and Minasyan just started warming up. His Snatch opener was 195 kg which looked powerful and confident. 

When Simon was already performing on the competition platform, Lalayan and Minasyan just put the first set of red plates on the bar. They both showed a good Snatch opener of 205 kg. Obviously, Lasha ordered 210 kg on his first attempt, but his coach lowered it to 208 kg that he performed easily and elegantly. But, the environment was too hot for Lasha, his coach put ice and wet blankets on him.

For the second attempt, Lalayan and Minasyan snatched 212 kg and 213 kg respectively, but both failed their third attempts (217 kg and 220 kg). It needs to be mentioned that Lalayan was quite fast and his movement was technically good. While Gor’s power and strength didn’t have any limits: extreme pull and high catch. He almost did 220 kg Power Snatch, he was too close, but not this time.

Lasha Talakhadze wasn’t surprised by such growing numbers, although his 208 kg, 215 kg, and 220 kg put an end to the question of the gold medal in this exercise. So, the Snatch results were the following: Bahrain took silver and Armenia got bronze.

About the lifts in Clean & Jerk discipline

In the Clean & Jerk the picture was even more interesting. The coaches were constantly monitoring the competitors’ lifts. Not pleasant, but a statistical fact about the Armenian team: they almost never leave the third decisive attempt in the C&J. And this is exactly what happened this time: both Lalayan and Minasyan were kicked out from the C&J podium. 

While Simon did 240 kg and 250 kg in C&J. Then he attempted to lift 255 kg, but unfortunately, we saw only some sort of pull. Lasha did a solid opener of 245 kg and then he did his second attempt with a 7 kg Snatch gap. He succeeded in snatching 253 kg and all chances of his contenders just faded away.

It was completely reasonable to decline the third attempt, but Talakhadze went on the platform to lift 260 kg. His turnover in Clean looked a bit tight and unconfident, and the jerk position was obvious that deep and drive won’t be easy. As a result, he wasn’t able to stabilize the overhead position, and eventually, Lasha got a small wrist strain in a Clean catch.

But, the result was very obvious: Lasha is the first and total. The only difference is that Armenia and Bahrain switched places: the silver went to Lalayan and the bronze was taken by Gor Minasyan. Simon Martirosyan: maybe huge 25 kg progress in total and got silver in Clean&Jerk, with a personal best of 250 kg. It was clear that he wasn’t satisfied with the results of the competition. If he could lift all six attempts and collect a total of 260 kg, he would get bronze. But, unfortunately, it didn’t happen.

A small, but very important detail: after such a tough competition, all three Armenian lifters were talking and congratulating each other on their performance and achievements. We witnessed that in the WWC 2023 in Riyadh again Lasha Talakhadze is an unstoppable force, continuing his reign as a seven-time World Champion title holder.

Stay inspired, keep lifting, and never stop reaching for new heights and kilos. Follow our channels and join us for more epic lifts in the future.

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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