Lidia Valentin
Spanish weightlifter Lidia Valentin, who is set to feature at this week's Worlds in Almaty.

Weightlifting World Championships: Everything you need to know (guest post)

Our thanks to Bulgarian sports journalist Ognian Georgiev for what is, surely, the most comprehensive rundown of the weightlifting World Championships available anywhere on the internet.

Weightlifting Worlds start today, 8 November, in Kazakhstan.

Ognian is passionate about weightlifting and is the author of a book entitled The White Prisoner: Galabin Boevski’s Secret Story. There’s more about him on his blog.

Find out more about writing guest posts for Frontier Sports here.


Lidia Valentin
Spanish weightlifter Lidia Valentin, who is set to feature at this week’s Worlds in Almaty.
By Ognian Georgiev

The war for weightlifting Olympic quotas starts today.

The best of the best are gathered in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for the sport’s 81st World Championships from 8-16 November.

Men’s events

56 KG: CHOL vs LONG

Om Yun Chol showed great form during Asian Games in Incheon (South Korea). Just a month ago he broke the world clean-and-jerk record with 170kg. He added 128kg in the snatch for a total of 298 kg. The current Olympic and world champion lost for the last time in 2011 during the World Championships in Paris.

Beijing Games Olympic champ Qingquan Long will be the main rival of the North Korean star. He was beaten in the Wroclaw World Championships last year by just 2kg, but Chol showed that he didn’t reach his limit. The 23-year-old Long is stronger in the snatch. The Chinese athlete needs to improve in the clean-and-jerk. He missed the Asian Games in order to concentrate on his preparation for Worlds.

The dark horse in the event will be Thach Kim Tuan. The lifter from Vietnam broke his personal best in the snatch during the Asian Games (134kg) and scored 160kg in the clean-and-jerk for a total of 294kg. The world junior champion is improving each year. He has been in a great run in his last five competitions, beating his own records in each event. Tuan was third in the 2013 World Championships and now the 20-year-old super talent will wait for mistakes from Chol and Long.

62 KG: WHO DARES TO CHALLENGE KIM UN-GUK?

Kim Un-Guk showed amazing form in the 62kg division during the Asian Games in Incheon last month. He broke two world records – 154kg in the snatch and 332kg in total. The North Korean will be the favourite in Almaty.

Last year, he had some problems in the clean-and-jerk that cost him the title. The London Olympic champion managed to lift just 170kg, but in Incheon he finished with 178kg.

During his international career, Un-Guk has always finished in first or second place – but his last world title was in Antalya four years ago.

According to the provisional entries, Jianjun Ding has the best result – 320kg (315kg for Kim Un-Guk). The 2009 Asian Games champion may be the surprise package here. His last completed event was the 2010 Worlds, when he disappointed. The Chinese trainers may have too much respect for the North Korean’s results in Incheon and skip the category in order to concentrate on other divisions – the world champion, Lijun Chen, wasn’t even listed in the entries.

The battle for second place will be far more interesting. It will feature the strong Colombian Oscar Figueroa, a bronze medallist from the 2013 Worlds and 2012 Olympics.

The European champion, Ivaylo Filev, needs to improve his results from Tel Aviv in order to get a top-three place, but he also is one of the strongest competitors around.

Eko Yili Irawan, from Indonesia, showed great form in Incheon with a third place (308kg) behind Lijun Chen and Kim. A result like the one he produced at the London Olympics (317kg) may secure him a place on the podium.

One thing for sure – we will wait for new world records on the belt of Un-Guk Kim. 

69 KG: LIAO HUI AND THE SNATCH RECORD

Will Liao Hui break the world snatch record during  the World Championships in Almaty? This is the most interesting question at 69kg. The superstar from China returned to competition last year after serving a two-year doping ban. In fact, his suspension was initially due to last until September 2014, but was later reduced to September 2012.

Hui had amazing results at the Worlds in Wroclaw last year. He broke the clean-and-jerk (198kg) and overall (358kg) records. The Olympic champion from Beijing 2008 scored 165+200kg for the amazing total of 365kg at an unofficial test event earlier this year. With such results, it will be very tough for the other lifters to challenge the mighty Hui. 

His main target will be one of the oldest world records – 165kg in the snatch, by Georgi Markov at the Sydney Games. In one of the most dramatic battles in the sport’s history, the Bulgarian fought an epic against his compatriot Galabin Boevski for the gold medal. (You can check out more about it in my book, The White Prisoner: Galabin Boevski’s secret story.),

Markov finished with the silver medal and his new, higher snatch mark is still at the top after 14 years. In fact, this is the only active record still owned by representatives of the mighty Bulgarian weightlifting school.

Surprisingly, the provisional list was headed by Shi Zhiyong with a projected total of 350kg. He is not the same Shi Zhiyong who became Olympic champion in Athens at 62kg and later competed at 69kg, but a 21-year-old youngster whose best result so far was fifth place at the Asian Championships with 338kg.

Oleg Chen has been superior in Europe since 2010 and is the most serious other contender. He finished 18kg behind Liao Hui last year. The difference was entirely made in the clean-and-jerk.

Two Iranians are in the provisional lists with very big entries. Jaber Behrouzi bombed out at the Asian Games. He was fourth in the World Championships last year with 330kg, but has now pushed himself up with an entry of 348kg.

Morteza Rezaeian is coming back after a two-year hiatus. It’s strange that he entered 339kg, because his best result so far in a big event is 324kg. As you know, those totals are purely on paper – the idea is they help to divide the weightlifters into different groups.

So, will 69kg will be a one-man show as always when Liao Hui is under the lights? He has already challenged Markov’s world snatch record three times without success, but in 2014 he had stunning results in the China test events. Let’s wait and see.

77 KG: WHO WILL SIT ON LU XIAOJUN’S THRONE?

One of the biggest stars missing during the World Championships this year will be the Olympic champion from London at 77kg, Lu Xiaojun. The world record-holder at the snatch and total is out of the event. Lu won the Asian Games just a month ago with a total of 375kg.

The provisional list in the category shows it will be very competitive event.

Daniel Godelli demonstrated good form during his training videos. He snatched 170kg and scored 205kg in the clean-and-jerk. The Albanian topped the entry weights with 372kg.

His compatriot Erkand Qerimaj will also be in a hunt for medals. He won the European title in Tel Aviv, beating Godelli by virtue of being 20 grams lighter in personal weight, because both finished with a total of 349kg.

The North Korean Kwang Song Kim finished second in the Asian Games with a total of 363kg (168+195kg). He was lifting in the shadows of Lu Xiaojun last year at the Worlds, but now will have a real chance to attack the gold. Kim’s entry is kind-of modest – just 350kg.

Petr Asayoank is one to watch, because he posted a high entry of 361kg. The best result of Belorussian is 335kg and he hasn’t appeared in international events since the European junior championships in Tallinn last year.

Ivan Stoitsov is coming back to competition for Azerbaijan. The Bulgarian mercenary, who served a four-year doping ban, returned before the London Olympics but wasn’t included in the team because of an injury. The former world champion from Chang Mai is a class act in the clean-and-jerk, with a best result of 205kg and a total of 363kg. If he manages to show his old form, 29-year-old Stoitsov can spring a surprise.

China will be represented by Guoshun Zhong, who returned to international competition last year. He totalled a very strong result of 375kg in the Asian Cup, which gives him a big chance to attack the gold here. His entry is 365kg, but the China coaches well know how to place their best horses in order to get the best results.

85 KG: CLASH OF THE TITANS

As in every competition, there is always a much-anticipated battle. It may be Germany v Argentina in football or Nadal v Federer in tennis. The big derby in weightlifting will be the clash of titans at 85kg.

The two favourites are almost exactly matched. We can expect an intriguing battle on 13 November. 

The big question: will the current world champion, Apti Aukhadov, be included in the final Russian team? He had suffered a back injury. Last year, Aukhadov had a great competition with 175kg and 212kg for a total of 387kg. These were the strongest clean-and-jerk and total results since the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Speaking of those Games, the gold medallist six years ago – and current world record-holder in the snatch (187kg) and total (394kg) is Andrei Rybakov. He will be in hunt for his third world title, at the age of 32. The Belorussian is almost unbeatable in the snatch. His last loss in his favourite weightlifting event during international competition was 10 years ago, at the European Championships in Minsk.

The provisional entry list is headed by 23-year-old Iranian Kianoush Rostami, who posted the huge total of 401kg. His best result so far is 383kg in the 2012 Asian Championships. At the World Championships in Paris, three years ago, this young talent won the gold medal and even dared to challenge the oldest world record – 218kg in the snatch, by Zhang Yong in 1998.

The Iranian showed good form in the Asian Games one month ago, finishing second with a total of 380kg (172kg + 208kg). Earlier this year, he posted a training videos with clean-and-jerks of 215kg and 220kg, so for sure Rostami will be the one to watch.

The most surprising top entry is the one of Rasoul Taghian-Chadegani (391kg). The Iranian appeared in the Asian Championships and won the 77kg division with a solid total of 366kg. He made a successful training attempt in the clean-and-jerk of 212kg (plus a 172kg snatch) when he in the lower division, so now we may expect him to attack the world record at 85kg.

Speaking of the highest mark, 20-year old Chinese sensation Tao Tian tied the world record just one month ago during the Asian Games. He wasn’t so strong in the snatch, his Achilles heel, and scored just 163kg to equal his personal best. But with an amazing 218kg clean-and-jerk,  Tian moved from fifth to first place in the general classification. The Chinese powerhouse suffered different injuries last year but is now healthy and ready to attack the title.

The Russians have another joker in hand. The world junior champion this year, Artem Okulov, finished third last year at the senior Worlds with a total of 381kg (172+209kg). Earlier in 2014, a training video showed his snatch at 190kg, making it look so easy that he could add another couple of kilograms without any trouble.

In Wroclaw, Okulov was tied with Ivan Markov at the same total. The Bulgarian finished in second place because of his lighter personal weight. Ivan is the brother of the famous Georgi Markov, and is improving his results with each competition. He impressed in the European Championships in Tel Aviv with a superb total of 385kg (175+210kg). Ivan Markov knows he must be better this time in order to beat such a wild field.

Hysen Pulaku is returning to competition after serving a two-year doping ban. He is listed at 85kg and will move up from his favourite 77kg division. Recently, the Albanian published a video with a clean-and-jerk of 210kg.

The big one missing will be the Olympic champion from London, Adrian Zielinski. He finished fourth in last year’s Worlds and decided to go up a weight to 94kg. He has already won the European title in his new category. Maybe it was a smart move by him, with so many strong lifters attacking the medals at 85kg.

94 KG: ALEXANDER IVANOV THE MAN TO BEAT

Almaty will be the turning point for the most-decorated active weightlifter, Ilya Ilyin. The two-time Olympic champion will move up from his favourite 94kg division to 105kg.

In his absence, the Russian Alexander Ivanov will be the favourite for gold. He is the current world champion after scoring 402kg (180+222kg) in Wroclaw. Ivanov finished with silver at the London Olympics. The battle with Ilyin was very close after the snatch, but in the clean-and-jerk the Kazakhstan star broke two world records – 233kg and 418kg in total.

Ilyin’s compatriot Vladimir Sedov and Polish veteran Adrian Zielinski are tied with the top entry weights in the provisional list – 400kg. Sedov finished third in Wroclaw with a total of 396kg. His finest career achievement in international competition is 402kg, which positioned him second during the 2009 Worlds in Goyang.

Adrian Zielinski changed his weight division in 2014. The Olympic champion from London at 85kg has already participated in six events in his new category. His best result was 392kg (177+215) in the Polish Championships few days ago. Adrian’s brother,  Tomas, is also scheduled to lift at Worlds. During the national championships he totalled 383 kg (170+213).

The second Kazakhstan lifter down to participate – Rustem Sybay – gave 395kg as his entry. He is just 21 years old but showed great results during training lifts: 170kg snatch and 221 clean-and-jerk for a provisional total of 391kg. Those results came earlier in the summer, so it’s possible that Subay could improve them.

Rinat Kireev was very strong during the Russian Championships. He finished with 175kg plus 219kg for a total of 39 kg. Such a result would put him among the medal contenders. The European champion from last year is very inconsistent during big events, though, so it’s important for him to have a good day.

The dark horse of the event will be China’s Hao Liu. He was perfect during the Asian Games last month with six out of six successful attempts. With 173kg plus 221kg for a total of 394kg, the 25-year-old Liu may be the next top lifter from China, coming out from the shadows to conquer the world.

105 KG: THE NEW HOME OF ILYA ILYIN

Two-time Olympic champion Ilya Ilyin will make his debut at 105kg in Almaty. The Kazakhstan superstar decided to move up and challenge the top competitors in the heavyweight division.

Ilyin showed some great lifts during his training period. In August he scored an unofficial 190kg snatch and 242kg clean-and-jerk (the current world record is 238kg). That result is better than the total of the current world champion from Wroclaw, Ruslan Nurudinov (190+235), and Olympic champ Oleksey Torokhtiy (185+227). We will wait and see if Ilyin manages to replicate those results in competition.

Nurudinov has been very quiet this season. He missed the Asian Games and put a very low entry into the provisional list – just 400kg. According to him, during training he snatched 200kg and clean-and-jerked 240kg.

Russia’s David Bedzhanyan finished second in Wroclaw last year with a total of 405kg (180+225kg). He has very strong clean-and-jerk which saw him pass the world record by 3kg during his national championships, with an 241kg lift (185kg snatch and 426kg total). The score wasn’t put in the record books because it wasn’t made during an international competition, according to IWF rules. The Russian Championships were held in August, so there has been time to improve for Bezdhanyan.

Mohsen Bahramzadeh, Kia Ghadami and Alireza Soleymany are the three warriors from the strong Iranian weightlifting army. They have posted high entry totals, which must now be proved in competition. Bahramzadeh’s only international appearance was during last year’s Asian Games. He finished in second place with a total of 390kg behind Nurudinov. Ghadami was third in the same event with 379kg. Later in 2013 he improved his personal best to 383kg during the World Championships in Wroclaw. Eighteen-year-old Alireza Soleymany won the Asian youth championships last year in the +94kg division and, depending on his trials result, may also be included in the squad.

The 2014 Asian champ Yang Zhe has shown great potential. He finished with a total of 403kg, but dared to attack 230kg in the clean-and-jerk. Last year Zhe scored 416kg (190+226kg) during the national championships. If he is selected in the final Chinese squad it will be the first Worlds for the five-time Asian number one.

London 2012 and 2013 world bronze medallist Bartłomiej Bonk didn’t find his form and failed to make the Polish squad. He finished second in the national championships a few days ago with 395kg. The champion, Michalski Arkadiusz, finished with a total of 404kg (180+224kg) and will represent his country in Almaty.

Watch out for the 17-year-old Armenian sensation Simon Martirosyan. He became Youth Olympic champion in August at +85kg, breaking the world record in his age division with a 221kg clean-and-jerk. He totalled 391kg after his 170kg snatch, but did a 183kg as well, which wasn’t counted as a correct lift by the judges. Martirosyan’s entry for the worlds is 40 kg. The young Armenian lion is capable of lifting that without any trouble.

The big names who will miss the event are the last two Olympic champions, Andrei Aramnau (BLR) and Oleksey Torokhty (UKR), and strong Russian Khadzimurat Akkaev. The Belarusian world record-holder at the snatch and total trained hard for the event, but has reportedly suffered an injury. The Ukrainian must decide soon if he will continue his career, but for now he will miss Almaty’s Worlds. Akkaev is still recovering from injury, According to his recent interview for www.wodloft.ru, the former world and European champion will concentrate on participating in the Rio Olympics in 2016. It will be his chance to get a full set of medals from the most prestigious sports forum. He already has a silver from Athens 2004 and a bronze from Beijing 2008.

Three-time world champion Marcin Dolega (POL) registered a positive doping test during the President’s Cup in Russia. He finished second in the event, competing at +105kg, but according to his national federation the former world record-holder had a “slightly high reading for norandrosterone”. His B sample is still to be opened, but he will not participate in Almaty.

+105 KG: TIME FOR SALIMI’S SHOW

The super-heavyweight division (+105kg) in Almaty may become a one-man show. The Olympic champion, Behdad Salimi, showed incredible form month ago during the Asian Games. He finished with a total of 465kg (210+255kg). The mighty Asian colossus is unbeaten in the last six years at international level. During this time Salimi won four Asian, two world and one Olympic title.

The Iranian already tried to break his own world record in snatch (214kg) during the Asian Games, but failed. He improved a lot on his personal best in the clean-and-jerk and total during the last competition so we may see some huge lifts by him.

Two Russians will be breathing down his neck. Alexey Lovchev scored a stunning 468kg (212+256kg) total during the Russian Championships in August. He improved by 11kg on his result at the Euros in Tel Aviv (205+252 – 457kg). The 25-year-old put some weight on his body and the result was very positive. In his last event he was 140kg, while during last year’s World Championships, when he finished fifth, he was ‘just’ 129kg.

The more-experienced – and heavier – Russian Ruslan Albegov is the current world champion with a very strong total from Wroclaw 2013 – 464kg (209+255). He hasn’t participated in international events during the current season. In a recent interview, Albegov confessed he is waiting for some injuries to heal, so his form may be questionable for Worlds.

The other top names will have to wait for mistakes by the favourites to enter into the medals battle. Estonian Mart Seim, 24, is surprisingly the second-highest provisional entry – 431kg. He finished sixth during the Europeans in Tel Aviv with 418kg, so it will be a small miracle if he manages to be close to the medals.

Ruben Aleksanyan (ARM) returned to competition during the Euros in April after two and a half years on hiatus. He finished second with 436kg (190+246). The former junior star needs to improve his snatch in order to fight for a top-three position. The Armenian is capable of a clean-and-jerk around 250kg.

Irakli Tumanidze (GEO) finished fifth at the London Olympics with a total of 433kg. He has failed to impress since then. His last international showing was during the 2013 Euros, where he made just two successful attempts for a modest total of 412kg (192+220kg).

Former world medallist Artem Udachyn had an awful competition last year in Wroclaw. He scored a zero in the snatch and was left third in the clean-and-jerk with 232kg. But the Ukrainian, 34, has frequently posted a total over 440kg and is capable of a surprise. The other Ukrainian, Oleg Proshak, was in top form during his country’s national championships with 430kg (190+240kg) and could also be a factor.

If you want to see all the entries, you can check the dedicated 2014 World Championships page at Gregor Winter’s website. This is the best page for weightlifting so if you like the sport, go and take a look. To recall the best achievements in the division from the last 15 years, go to Slawomir Judek’s statistical oasis.

The main portion of Olympic weightlifting quotas will be given on a team basis, counting the results from the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. Another chance will be the continental championships. If you are interested in seeing the full qualification system, click here.

Women’s events

48 KG: THE MYSTERIOUS ENTRY OF LI YANG

We’ve witnessed a lot of mysterious Chinese athletes who appear in big competitions and steal the show. Will it be the case with Li Yang, who is the top entry at 48kg in Almaty? She headed the provisional entry list with a strong total of 203kg. Just to compare: the current world champion, Tan Yayun, finished with a total of 199kg (84+115kg) in Wroclaw 12 months ago.

Li Yang isn’t the former world junior champ at 75kg, who has the same name. Last year, the 23-year-old weightlifter competed at China’s national championships, but finished the competition after a successful snatch attempt at 85kg and two failures at 90kg. She didn’t lift in the clean-and-jerk.

The big favorite at 48kg is Tan Yayun. She was very strong last year and won both the Asian and world championships. Tan tied the world clean-and-jerk record (121kg) during her continental championships and was just 3kg off the overall record.

Two strong competitors from Turkey will be the main threat for 21-year-old Yayun. Nurcan Taylan is the most experienced athlete in the field. The Olympic champion from Athens 2004 won the European title in Tel Aviv with a modest total of 177kg. It was her first competition since serving a two-year doping ban for the anabolic steroid methandienone. Taylan is the current world record-holder in the clean-and-jerk.

Sibel Ozkan’s last big event was the 2010 Worlds. She reappeared during the national championships in October, where she lifted a total of 185kg (with personal weight of 50.60kg). The Turkey athlete was a silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics with a total of 199kg. Her personal best of 20 kg would put her in medal contention if Ozkan is able to reach it.

Shqiponja Brahja is another weightlifter returning after a two-year doping ban. The Albanian gave a positive sample at the Paris 2011 Worlds. Brahja is listed with a high provisional entry of 190kg.

The current Asian Games champion, Margarita Yelisseyeva, showed good form in September. She won the event with a personal best of 194kg (88+106kg), but will probably need to add some more weight in the clean-and-jerk to stay in the battle for medals.

53 KG: THREE-WAY BATTLE

Three top weightlifters will fight for glory at 53kg.

Olympic champion Zulfiya Chinshanlo (KAZ), world champion Li Yajun (CHN) and Asian champion/world record-holder in the total Hsu Shu-Ching (TPE) are far ahead of the field. What will be key for the win? Home soil for Kazakhstan? The unbeaten run of the China athlete? Or the form showed six weeks ago by Shu-Ching?

Chinshanlo won the Olympic title in London with a very strong clean-and-jerk totalling 226kg against 219 for Chinese Taipei’s athlete. During September’s Asian Games, Shu-Ching took revenge in amazing fashion. She scored a very strong 101kg snatch. Chinshanlo answered with a new world record in the clean–and-jerk of 132kg. The same weights were lifted by her opponent, who reached a new record in the total – 233kg against 228kg for silver medallist Chinshanlo. Those were career-best lifts for both.

Li Yajun didn’t participate in the Asian Games but she knows how to impress. Last year, during the national championships, she beat the world snatch record by 2kg (but the new mark wasn’t put into the books, because it wasn’t made during international competition) and totalled a very strong 227kg. The China star won the Worlds in Wroclaw  after a very close battle with Cristina Iovu (Azer) and a total of 221kg. The event was missed by Chinshanlo and Shu-Ching, so 21-year-old Yajun is still unbeaten in international events. She and Chinshanlo posted the highest provisional entries here, at 225kg. Shu-Ching entered 220kg.

Yuderqui Maridalia Contreras could benefit if the top three contenders make mistakes. The Dominican Republic star is one of the most experienced weightlifters in the division. The Pan-American champion has won several world medals, but her personal total is ‘just’ 211kg, scored nine years ago.

Two women from Thailand managed to grab medals last year at the Worlds. Sopita Tanasan is 19 but has already proved herself as a +200kg lifter. She finished sixth during the Asian Games with a personal best of 206kg, which probably will not be enough to defend her silver medal from Wroclaw.

Kittima Sutanan posted the same entry as Tanasan – 200kg. She was third at Worlds last year with exactly 200kg. Her personal best is 201kg.

The missing athlete, with a capital ‘M’, will be fan favourite Christina Iovu, a bronze medallist from the London Olympics. The Moldavian, who is competing for Azerbaijan, was caught doping last year with 17 other lifters from the country. She was stripped of her world silver medal, where she totalled 221kg. Iovu will return to competition next year after her doping ban expires, and will make the 53kg division even more competitive.

58 kg: KUO VS CHINA TORPEDOES

World champion Kuo Hsin-Chun will have a very tough task defending her title at 58kg. She wasn’t in top form during the Asian Games a month ago. A fourth-place finish with a total of 219kg (95+124) and just three successful attempts wasn’t something expected from her. It’s not clear if she will be back to the level of her results from Wroclaw, when she totalled 241kg (108+133kg). Last season was the best for Chinese Taipei’s athlete, but now her rivals will be much stronger.

Ri Jong Hwa showed strong results during the Asian Games with a total of 236kg (102+134). Last year she bombed out in the clean-and-jerk on 132 kg, but now her coaches will select the weights more cleverly, because Almaty’s Worlds are Olympic qualifiers and every point, taken in each weight, will be very important for the final team classification. The career-best for the North Korean is 238kg (105+133kg).

China has two torpedoes with very high provisional entries: Zhou Jun (240kg) and Deng Mengrong (236kg). The Olympic champion Li Xueying’s last international event was the London Games. In her absence, Zhou Jun may be the new star kid. She is just 19 years old. Last year, the teenager finished second in her national championships with a total of 234kg (103+131kg).

Deng Mengrong is coming down from 63kg. She always had problems making the full weight in that division, so now a return to 58kg for the two-time world junior champ could be a good move. Her best result at the lower category is 22 kg, as a junior in 2010, but at the same time Deng Mengrong lifted 251kg in the Chinese nationals with body weight of almost 61kg. So something around 240kg will be the target.

London 2012 silver and bronze medallists Sirikaew Pimsiri and Yuliya Kalina are going up to 63kg, so two of the top weightlifters will be missing. Former world champ Nastasia Novikava (BLR) decided not to return at 58kg after a disappointing Worlds in Wroclaw last year. The 63kg division will also be the new home for three-time Olympian and 2013 world silver medallist Maria Alexandra Escobar Guerrero from Ecuador.

The Russian veteran Yelena Shadrina won the European title in Tel Aviv a few months ago with a total of 212kg, and added better results during nationals (100+123 – for a total of 223kg). She may be the hidden favourite, who may stun the Asian women.

63 KG: WITH THE BEST OF THE BEST

The 63kg division will be the most competitive among women. All the big stars will participate. A couple of top names from the 58kg category will also climb up to fight for medals.

Deng Wei heads the provisional entry list with 251kg. Last year in Wroclaw she participated at 58kg but bombed out in the clean-and-jerk. In September, the China athlete finished second at the Asian Games with a strong result (7kg more than the winning total of Tima Turieva at the 2013 World Championships). Wei scored a world record in the clean-and-jerk with 144kg (for a total of 259kg). She was beaten only by Lin Tzu-Chi from Chinese Taipei, who posted a new record in the division in the clean-and-jerk (145kg) and in total (261kg).

Lin Tzu-Chi’s entry is 250kg. She won the Asian championships in Astana last year with 243kg. The competitor from Chinese Taipei appeared very late in international events, but now is one of the hottest prospects pound-for-pound.

The current champion, Tima Turieva, won the world title with six out of six attempts and a total of 252kg. The Russian scored a total of 263kg (115+148kg) during the national championships with a personal weight of 65.65 kg. Earlier this season she added a European title to her resume.

A few days ago, the Olympic champion from London – Maiya Maneza – celebrated her 29th birthday. The Kazakhstan lifter is a former world record-holder in the clean-and-jerk and is capable of close to 250kg (her personal best is 248kg). She is unbeaten in the last five years, but now the competition will be furious.

The former world champion at 58kg, Nastassia Novikava, will participate for the second time in her new division. Last year at the Worlds she had just two successful attempts and finished in fifth place with 238kg. The 32-year-old veteran may be a threat to the favourites if she tops her best form.

Yuliya Kalina is another newcomer in the division. She debuted during the Euros with a personal weight of 61.76 kg. The Ukrainian had a personal best of 235kg at 58 kg, so now she may improve to around 245kg.

Karina Goricheva is the second Kazakhstan athlete who will fight for medals. She scored 247 kg in the Asian Games, but finished fourth. The result was better than Maiya Maneza’s Olympic gold total. In London, the champion secured the title after her first clean-and-jerk attempt and then went for world record attacks.

69 KG: IT’S TIME FOR SAZANAVETS AND RYO

The 69kg division will be missing three dominant forces from the last few years. That opens a chance for the experienced Belorussian Dzina Sazanavets or North Korean Un Hui Ryo to finally win a gold medal.

Current title holder Xiang Yanmei selected the Asian Games as her main target for 2014. She won the event with expected ease scoring a huge total of 268kg (118+150kg). The 22-year old star will probably return next year for the second part of Olympic qualification.

Oxana Slyvenko was undefeated in all events she participated in between 2010 and 2013. The Beijing Olympics silver medalist, a three-time world and six-time European champ, retired from weightlifting in order to concentrate on crossfit events and training seminars. The Russian superpower finished fourth in Wroclaw last year and this probably helped to decide her future.

Olympic champ Rim Jong Sim had other plans. She decided to move up to the 75kg division. Month ago she was still 2.8 kg less in her personal weight than the new division and finished third in the Asian Games.

With such quality out of the competition, London Games silver medallist Dzina Sazanavets may be considered the favourite for gold. She won the European title earlier this year with a total of 245kg. In late September, the 24-year-old lifter scored 267kg (117+150) in Belorussia nationals with a personal weight of 73.05kg. Her career best in big competitions is 259kg, which was enough for third place in Wroclaw last year.

2013 world silver medallist Un Hui Ryo posted a provisional entry of 255kg (250kg for Sazanavets). The North Korean had very consistent results in her previous two competitions. She totalled 262kg at both the Asian Games this year and in Wroclaw last year. Her career best is 263kg at the 2013 Asian Championships in Almaty.

Zhazira Zhapparkul will attack the medals with an entry of 255kg. During the Asian Games she participated in the 75kg division with a personal weight of 69.80kg and a total of 263kg. The Youth Olympic champion had an official personal best of 240kg, but the Kazakhstan lifter s capable of much more.

Chen Youjuan is the leader in the provisional entry list with 260kg. It will be the first major international event for her. Last year she participated in the national championships and finished third behind Xie Hongli (265kg) and Xiang Yanmei (265kg). Her result of 255kg (120+135kg) is good enough to put her in medal contention.

75 KG: THE TOP LADIES ARE IN THE BUSINESS

All the top guns in the 75kg division will fight for the gold medal in Almaty. The only one missing is the runner-up at the London Olympics, Natalia Zabolotnaya (Rus), who produced an epic battle with Svetlana Podobedova (Kaz) for that title.

The Kazakhstan lifter will have home advantage. She posted the highest provisional entry – 280kg. Podobedova, 28, is the most experienced weightlifter in the event. The Olympic champ will try to add a third world title to her strong resume.

One of the most recognised female weightlifters on the planet, Nadezda Evstyukhina will defend her world title. She won the gold medal in Wroclaw with a total of 277kg. Earlier this season the Russian posted an even stronger result of 280kg during nationals with a perfect six attempts. Her best international result is 293kg from the 2011 Worlds. Evstyukhina also lifted 296kg during 2012 nationals.

Yue Kang finished second at the 2013 Worlds. She posted the same provisional weight for Almaty as Svetlana Podobedova – 280kg. The 23-year old China star is in the form of her life. She finished second during the Asian Games in September with a total of 291kg.

The only athlete who beat Kang a month and a half ago was Kim Un-Ju. She made six out of six lifts and broke the world clean-and-jerk record (164kg). Her total of 292kg is pretty impressive. The new North Korean powerhouse will mark her second World Championships appearance. Three years ago in Paris she finished third with 265kg.

Another medal contender from North Korea will be Rim Jong Sim. The Olympic champion from London at 69kg reached a personal best in her new weight division during the Asian Games with 271kg. We could see 280kg-plus from her.

Fans’ favourite Lidia Valentin won her first senior European title in Tel Aviv earlier this season with a personal best of 268kg and six successful attempts. She improves her results each year. In Wroclaw, the Spanish competitor finished third with a total of 260kg. With such strong rivals on the stage, Valentin probably will need a result of +275kg to be in the top three.

+75 KG: KASHIRINA IS THE SUPER FAVORITE

World record-holder Tatiana Kashirina (Rus) will be the super favourite in the +75kg women’s event.

She is the owner of the world records in the snatch (151kg) and in total (334kg) and is ready to defend her title from Wroclaw. Kashirina’s only international event in 2014 was the European Championships. She was very strong and finished with a total of 332kg (143+180kg). Her attempts started after all the other competitors had already completed the competition.

The biggest rival of the Russian – Zhou Lulu (China) – has other plans. She showed amazing form during the Asian Games in September and beat Kashirina’s clean-and-jerk world record. The new mark of 192kg is 2kg more than the previous one set in Wroclaw. The Olympic champion will miss the World Championships, but will probably return next year for another dramatic clash with her fellow weightlifter.

Suping Meng is coming back to international competitions after four years. The China hope already clashed twice with Kashirina and lost both times. At the 2010 Worlds, Meng totalled 310kg against 315kg for the Russian, who won the gold. During the 2009 Worlds, the China athlete finished third with a total of 296kg against 303kg for Kashirina. Now the difference between the top two competitors in this entry list is 5kg (320kg for the Russian against 315kg for her main rival).

Two Thai weightlifters posted serious provisional weights to attack the medals. Chitchanok Pulsabsakul finished third at Wroclaw 2013 with a total of 291kg. She improved by 1kg during the Asian Games in September. Her country-mate Praeonapa Khenjantuek scored 282kg (122+160kg) for fifth place at the same competition.

Hripsime Khurshudyan is another well-known name who is capable of a +290 kg result. Her personal best of 294kg (128+166kg) was enough for a bronze medal at the London Olympics. The Armenian, 27, has the experience to select the best tactics during such an event. She disappointed during the Euros with the modest result of 232kg (102+130kg).

With thanks to Ognian. Guest posts are, obviously, the views of the guest author and not necessarily those of their organisation, employer etc, nor this website.