India dominates Commonwealth weightlifting championships
Sixteen weightlifters are bound for GC2018 after securing automatic qualification at the 2017 Commonwealth and Oceania Championships on the Gold Coast.
India announced their place on top of the weightlifting world, with five of the 16 places awarded to the nation during the championships. Winning 14 medals in Glasgow, the team’s results are ominous for GC2018.
The Indian athletes arrived almost three weeks prior to the competition to adjust to the climate and conditions. It’s a decision that paid off, with the 20 competitors breaking 34 records over five days of competition across the senior, junior and youth championships.
India’s Saikhom Mirabai Chanu was one of the weightlifters to be awarded automatic qualification, in the women’s 48kg division.
Getting 85kg over head in the first stage, Chanu broke her own Commonwealth record in snatch, before a 104kg clean and jerk secured her place and was incredibly more than 35kg ahead of her closest competitor.
India’s success continued in the women’s 53kg, with Sanjita Chanu Khumukcham beating compatriot Santoshi Matsa by 1kg to claim the medal and automatic qualification.
The nation’s gold medal haul was completed by three spots awarded in the men’s competition, with the 77kg division going to Sathish Kumar Sivalingam.
The reigning Commonwealth Games champion, Sivalingam told the Times of India he was happy to qualify for a chance to defend his title.
"I targeted the top spot in this tournament and I am happy to have qualified for the Commonwealth Games next year," he said.
"While I am pleased with my performance, there is always a scope for improvement. Qualifying for the Commonwealth Games is special since I did well in the last edition back in 2014."
Fellow Indian Commonwealth Games medallist, Venkat Rahul Ragala, took out the 85kg division and will aim to improve on his silver performance in Glasgow on the Gold Coast.
Showing strength across the full spectrum of weight categories, in the 105kg division Pardeep Singh lifted a combined 342kg to secure India’s final automatic qualification.
Malaysia’s first two GC2018 Weightlifting competitors were determined at the championships, taking out titles in the men’s 56kg and 69kg divisions.
Azroy Hazalwafie Muhammad went one better than his silver medal at the 2016 Commonwealth championships to lift a combined 253kg and secure his place at the Games next year.
Glasgow gold medallist Mohd Hafifi Mansor will defend his title in the 69kg division in April, 2018 with a surprise addition to the Malaysian team, having withdrawn from the South East Asian Games in early August due to a thigh injury.
Mansor told The Star he was pleased with his performance, but said spectators should expect to see more from him on the Gold Coast.
"I’m happy to prove a point here. And I think I can still do better," he said.
Joining Malaysia with two weightlifting athletes of their ownis Fiji. .
Winning her third successive Commonwealth championship title, Glasgow bronze medallist Apolonia Vaivai won the automatic qualification in the 69kg division, with 101kg snatch and 126kg clean and jerk lifts.
Vavai will be joined by 17-year-old Fijian powerhouse Eileen Cikamatana who qualified in the women’s 90kg category.
Cikamatana beat Australia’s Kaitlyn Fassina to win four gold medals in the Commonwealth and Oceania senior and junior competitions, breaking both the Commonwealth and Oceania clean and jerk records with a 141kg lift.
Weightlifting Fiji president, Atma Maharaj, told the Fiji Sun that Cikamatana will be the athlete to beat at GC2018.
"Eileen’s win will put her in a strong position for the Commonwealth Games in April, Gold Coast," Maharaj said.
"Eileen is setting a benchmark not just for Fijian weightlifters but all of the nation’s sportspeople and the Oceania region at large.
"The competition in the Commonwealth Games will be a big step forward."
Solomon Islands’ Jenly Tegu Wini won gold in the women’s 58kg division, over Australia’s Erika Yamasaki and Seychelles’ Clementina Ciana Agricole’s, with a score of 200 awarding her a place in the GC2018 63kg event.
The first Welsh athlete was determined in the 75kg division, with Laura Hughes lifting a combined 203kg for gold. In the women’s 90+kg division, New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard lifted 127kg in the snatch and 145kg in the clean and jerk to secure her berth on the Gold Coast.
Papua New Guinea took out two spots in the men’s competition, with Morea Baru scoring 282 in the 62kg division and Glasgow gold medallist Steven Kari posting a combined 353kg lift in the 94kg division.
In the final event of the championships, Samoa’s Lauititi Lui claimed the men’s 105+kg title, securing back-to-back Commonwealth Games appearances.
You’ll have the chance to see these incredible athletes in action at GC2018. Tickets are still available – visit our tickets page today.