When we last attempted to project this sport, we were trying to guess which 10 athletes would be picked from each country. Those memories had been repressed for a while.
Now it’s a little easier. We have the final entry list with everyone’s qualifying weight. And when you consider weightlifting has no wind or mud that can affect someone’s performance, it’ll take a lot for us to go against the entry list. You might say the federation has done the heavy lifting for us.
(Hey, only two more posts to go. You can deal with another bad pun or two.)
Well, sort of. The qualifying weights don’t include the 2011 numbers, so we may take a peek at those as well. Especially when the Chinese lifters aren’t at the top of the 2012 list.
Also, if you’re going to be competing in London, you apparently can’t eat geraniums.
Away we go.
56kg: The qualifying list shows Vietnam’s Le Quoc Toan Tran at 292kg, then Azerbaijan’s Valentin Hristov (290) and Kazakhstan’s Arli Chontei (287). But if you look back to 2011, China’s Wu Jingbiao matched that 292 number. Was CHN-CHN-PRK; now Vietnam, China, Azerbaijan
62kg: Similar situation but much closer. The 2012 list has a three-way tie at 320 — North Korea’s Un Guk Kim, Turkey’s Erol Bilgin and Colombia’s Oscar Albeiro Figueroa. Kim also lifted 320 last year, but China’s Zhang Jie lifted 321. We’ll stick with China, North Korea, Turkey
69kg: Armenia’s Arakel Mirzoyan lifted 345, which leads this year and last. The top two on last year’s list didn’t enter, but we’ll keep an eye on No. 3 Lin Qingfeng of China, who recorded a 335 in January 2011 and is listed at 300 this year. Albania’s Briken Calja is second at 336, followed by a three-way tie at 335 between Romania’s Razvan Constantin Martin, South Korea’s Jeongsik Won and Azerbaijan’s Afgan Bayramov. Of those three, Martin is the youngest and still had the best lift (331) last year. Was CHN-ROM-ROM; now Armenia, Albania, Romania
77kg: Beijing gold medalist Jae-Hyouk Sa of South Korea improved from 360, good for third in 2011, to 375 this year. That’s No. 1 this year and equals the 375 posted by China’s Lu Xiaojun to lead last year. China has two lifters here, but that doesn’t include Su Daijin, who ranked second last year. Armenia’s Tigran Martirosyan was fourth last year at 356 and second this year at 365. The only other people at 360 are higher are Albania’s Hysen Pulaku and Egypt’s Ibrahim Ramadan Ibrahim. Was ARM-CHN-EGY; now South Korea, China, Armenia
85kg: Four lifters have passed the top mark (385) of last year. Iran’s Kianoush Rostami is at 395. Then three at 390: Iran’s Sourab Moradi, Azerbaijan’s Ivan Stoitsov and Belarus’ Andrei Rybakou. The USA’s lone male weightlifter is here — Kendrick Farris has lifted 355. We don’t have a lot of information to break the tie, but Moradi and Rybakov also had good performances last year. Was POL-RUS-BLR; now Iran, Iran, Belarus
94kg: Can Kazakhstan’s Ilya Ilyin defend his Olympic title? He had the best performance (407) last year and is a close second (409) this year behind Moldova’s Anatoli Ciricu (410). Iran’s Saeid Mohammadpourkarkar was third last year (402) and shares third this year (405) with Azerbaijan’s Intiqam Zairov and South Korea’s Min-Jae Kim. Then Ukraine’s Artem Ivanov is one pound back at 404, having cleared 407 (tied with Ilyin) last year. So this is a little muddled. Was RUS-UKR-ROU; now Moldova, Kazakhstan, Iran
105kg: The top four this year are Poland’s Marcin Dolega (430), Ukraine’s Oleksiy Torokhtiy (425), Georgia’s Gia Machavariani (425) and Iran’s Navab Nasirshelal (421). But then we have three guys worth considering, all tied this year at 420. Russia’s Khadzhimurat won the world title last year with 430, followed by Olympic silver medalist and fellow Russian Dmitry Klokov at 428. The other guy at 420 this year is the defending Olympic champion, Andrei Aramnau of Belarus. Was Poland, Russia, Ukraine
105+kg: Iranian giant Behdad Salimkordasiabi ran away with the world title last year at 464. He tops this year’s list at 455, with fellow Iranian and world runner-up Sajjad Anoushiravani Hamlabad next at 450. Ukraine has Artem Udachyn at 445 and one of the four guys tied at 440. (Others are from Russia, Azerbaijan and South Korea. Was IRI-GER-UKR; now Iran, Iran, Ukraine
48kg: Chinese teenager Tian Yuan ran away with the world title last year at 207kg. Not sure why we mentioned that, because she won’t be there. Neither are the other two Chinese lifters among the top four performances last year. The other lifter in the top four last year was Turkey’s Nurcan Taylan, who … also won’t be there. This year, Thailand’s Panida Khamsri is tied at 200 with yet another Chinese lifter, Wang Mingjuan. Then Japan’s Hiromi Miyake has a slight edge over another Thai lifter. Was TUR-CHN-TUR; now Thailand, China, Japan
53kg: We’re a little disappointed not to see the name of Olympic champion Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon on the entry list. Kazakhstan teenager Zulfiya Chinshanlo took the world title at 227 last year, and she’s listed with the same total this year. World runner-up Aylin Dasdelen of Turkey is second at 225. The next two — Moldova’s Cristina Iovu and Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Shu-Ching are next at 220, and no one else is close. China didn’t enter. Was CHN-KAZ-THA; now Kazakhstan, Turkey, Chinese Taipei
58kg: Chinese teenager Deng Wei had the best lift in the world last year at 243. You know this story. She’s not on the team. China did enter world runner-up Li Xueying, who lifted 236 at Worlds last year to finish second behind Belarus’ Nastassia Novikava (237). Novikava has done even better this year, lifting 240. Chinese Taipei teenager Kuo Hsing-Chun is next at 233. Thailand’s Pimsiri Sirikaew was third at Worlds at 230, and she’s listed at 230 this year. Was CHN-BLR-PRK; now Belarus, Chinese Taipei, Thailand
63kg: We have only seven lifters on the entry list. One of them is nearly 40kg behind everyone else. So the others arguably have a 50-50 chance of medaling. Three stand out. Maiya Maneza (Kazakhstan) was the world runner-up and tops the list this year at 255. Svetlana Tsarukaeva (Russia) matched that total to win the world title last year. Turkey’s Sibel Simsek is second this year at 250. The second tier is led by Canada’s Christine Girard, who lifted 238 last year. Bulgaria’s Milka Maneva is at 235. Was KAZ-TUR-KOR; now Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia
69kg: Russian silver medalist Oxana Slivenko won Worlds last year by lifting 266, just enough to edge out China’s Xiang Yanmei. Xiang won’t be competing here, so the biggest challenges are likely to come from world leader Roxana Daniela Cocas (Romania, 255kg this year) and Jong Sim Rim (North Korea, 252). Three lifters are at 250, two from Belarus. Was RUS-ARM-COL; now Russia, Romania, Belarus
75kg: Another case of last year’s leader, Russia’s Natalya Zabolotnaya, not being in the Olympic competition. But fellow Russian and 2008 bronze medalist Nadezhda Yevstyukhina, who won the world title last year with a total of 293, will be here. This year’s leader, Kazakhstan’s Svetlana Podobedova, is at 290. No one else is close, and we should see a battle for bronze between Belarus’ Iryna Kulesha (265 this year) and Spain’s Lidia Valentin Perez (262 this year, 264 last year). Was KAZ-RUS-RUS; now Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus
75+kg: Americans Sarah Robles and Holley Mangold will get plenty of press, but they’re way down the entry list. Robles’ best total of the past two years is 258; Mangold’s is 255. This year’s world leader, Russia’s Tatiana Kashirina, is at 300. Last year, Kashirina lifted 327 but was only second on the list behind China’s Zhou Lulu (328). This year, for some reason, Zhou is listed at the more modest 250. The other contenders, all with their best lifts on the entry list: South Korean gold medalist Mi-ran Jang (290), Egypt’s Nahla Ramadan Mohamed (285), Nigeria’s Mariam Usman (282) and Armenia’s Hripsime Khurshudyan (280). Was RUS-KOR-CHN; now Russia, China, South Korea