0924 GMT May 27, 2022
Iranian wunderkind Alireza Yousefi said he has set his sights on surpassing the benchmarks established by the Georgian sensation Lasha Talakhadze in the weightlifting’s super-heavyweight division.
The 18-year-old was part of the new-look Iranian team that recently took part at the Weightlifting World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan – finishing second to Russia in the men’s ranking.
Iranians left the Uzbek capital with eight medals as Rasoul Motamedi walked away with the 102kg total and clean & jerk golds – coupled with a snatch silver – while his compatriot Amir Hoqouqi collected the total and clean & jerk bronzes of the category.
Mir-Mostafa Javadi grabbed the total and clean & jerk silvers, as well as the snatch bronze, in the 81kg weight class.
The +109kg contests, as expected, was all about the one-man show delivered by Talakhadze who shattered three world records – previously set by himself at the Tokyo Olympics in August – en route to a clean sweep of triple golds.
However, Yousefi’s performance in Group A of the super-heavyweight class offered a glimpse into what the future might hold for the Iranian young gun.
A 2018 Youth Olympic champion in Argentina, Yousefi tallied 183kg for a seventh-spot finish in the snatch event, before lifting 238kg in his second attempt to set a new world junior clean & jerk record, which had belonged to his compatriot Ali Davoudi.
Yousefi was unfortunate to see his third lift of 245kg declared as a ‘no lift’ by the referees, but he still managed to finish fifth in the C&J contest – a relatively decent result for him in his world seniors debut.
“Thank God I did a good job at the World Championships. My first goal was to better the world junior C&J record, which I fulfilled,” Yousefi told Varzesh3, adding, “Had my third lift been declared correct, I would have won the C&J bronze, though I never really understood why the jury did not accept it.”
The Iranian said, from now on, his main objective will be to break Talakhadze’s records in the coming years, though he was quick to praise the Georgian giant as a “living legend.”
Talakhadze registered 225kg and 267kg records in Tashkent as a total record of 492kg – four more than his benchmark in Tokyo – saw him edge ever closer to the 500kg mark.
“Talakhadze is a genius. He’s a living legend, whom I truly enjoy to watch on the scene. It takes a lot of effort and professional training to remain the best. He must have done an accurate recovery job after the Olympics to succeed in Tashkent,” said Yousefi of the Georgian great.
“Everyone now sees that I have the potential to finish on the [world] podiums in the near future. I will surely go for the seniors records in the coming years. No record is untouchable,” added Yousefi.
“I’ll be looking to lift 205-210 kilograms in the snatch and 265-270 kilograms for C&J in future years.”
Iran has been best known for introducing top-notch super-heavyweight weightlifters over the years, as the weight class had been dominated by Hossein Rezazadeh and Behdad Salimi for more than a decade before Talakhadze burst onto the scene in 2015.
Yousefi, meanwhile, will have to overcome the domestic challenge of Tokyo silver medalist Davoudi, before posing a threat to the Georgian’s undisputed status.