Why does Yang Lian hold the national snatch record?

Something I’ve noticed around 2012 for the first time and have been curious about ever since. The CWA has continuously published and updated the Chinese records list, the current link sits here:


The very first entry for the 48kg class lists the great Yang Lian as owning the snatch record with 99kg set at the 2009 National Games in Jinan. Indeed that lift happened then and there, but she wasn’t the first to get the weight!

Whoever followed the competition then or watches replays now will notice the equally great Wang Mingjuan hitting 99kg first, with Yang Lian following about a minute and a half later. In the embedded video the sequence of lifts begins at 53:20.

So why exactly was Yang and not Wang credited with the record? The first person to get the weight gets the record, universally. Wang wasn’t disqualifed afterwards, which would be the only explanation.

Still strange after all these years.

The fraud of the IWF


A picture is worth a thousand words.

Alexei Ni is responsible for 35 Kazakh doping sanctions in the last 13 years. He’s further responsible for 10 yet to be finalized doping violations from the Beijing and London Games re-tests. He’s responsible for forfeiting all five Kazakh Gold medals won in these two competitions.

Alexei Ni is responsible for multiple cases of steroid use forced on minors, tantamount to child abuse, like 16 year old Tatyana Kapustina or 14 (!) year old Yekaterina Stolyarenko.

And yet only Russia “by reason of conduct connected with or associated with doping or anti-doping rule violations, brings the sport of weightlifting into disrepute” (anti-doping policy 12.4, PDF p. 62).

Yeah, right.

The IWF deserves to be dismantled. In its place a new governing body is needed, one that can keep the initials. However the “I” should receive a second, more important meaning: independent.

Age statistics of the 2013 Chinese National Games


The following is a simple table of lifters’ ages at the 2013 National Games of China, held in Liaoning. The National Games are a multi sport event and can be called a domestic Olympics. The weightlifting competition held as part of the program is considered more prestigious than a regular National Championships.

Age is calculated not by actual age, but by “IWF age” – the year of birth determines the number. For example every person who turned 20 in 2013 is considered 20 for this post.

All birth dates are taken from the official results PDF files. Each class consists of 15 or 16 competitors.

The table lists the weight class, the average age (A), the youngest (Y) and oldest (O) lifter.

W48   A22.2   Y17   O31
W53   A22.1   Y16   O31
W58   A20.5   Y17   O25
W63   A23.2   Y18   O31
W69   A20.9   Y18   O24
W75   A22.5   Y18   O28
W75+ A21.8   Y18   O26

M56     A21.6   Y16   O26
M62     A23.5   Y20   O29
M69     A22.0   Y18   O26
M77     A22.8   Y18   O29
M85     A22.7   Y18   O33
M94     A23.7   Y20   O30
M105   A22.6   Y17   O28
M105+ A25.2   Y21   O30

Nurcan Taylan, Li Zhuo, and the inequalities of judging


The 48kg class at the 2004 Athens Olympics saw a duel between Nurcan Taylan of Turkey and Li Zhou of China. Before the competition Taylan was multiple European champion as well as world medalist. Li was multiple Asian champion as well as the world record holder in the snatch and clean and jerk.

These are the results as they were recorded, but as so often they don’t tell the full story.

Nurcan Taylan – 47.21 – 90/95/97.5 + 107.5/112.5x/112.5 = 210

Li Zhuo – 47.65 – 90/92.5/95x + 112.5/120x/120x = 205

In the snatch Li’s third attempt at 95kg saw a slight press out on her left arm and she was called 2:1 against, thus ending on 92.5kg. Taylan made three good lifts and finished with 97.5kg, a new WR. Li now needed to make up 7.5kg as she was heavier.

Both women made their clean and jerk openers and Taylan then increased to 112.5kg while the Chinese team waited. Taylan had a 2:1 in favor decision on her last attempt which showed a press out on her right arm – with more bend than Li’s failed snatch. Taylan now with a 210 total, Li attempted 120kg twice unsuccessfully to overtake her.

If Nurcan Taylan‘s last jerk had been judged equally to Li’s last snatch the Chinese team only had to attempt 115kg for the gold. Li Zhuo held the WR with 116.5kg.

The video below shows most lifts, with regards to the crucial press outs: Li’s at 2:35, Taylan’s at 4:50.

Countries affected by the Rio qualification doping rules


The qualification system document for the Rio Olympic Games lays out the rules regarding doping infringements during the qualification peroid. This timeframe is defined as 19 June 2014 to 19 June 2016.

On page two of the PDF the following penalties are given:

Any country accumulating 4 to 5 sanctions within the qualification peroid loses one (1) quota place. Any country accumulating 6 or more sanctions within the qualification peroid loses two (2) quota places. Any country accumulating 9 or more sanctions within a calender year will be barred from the Olympic Games.

As of now only two countries, Bulgaria and Romania, have been affected officially by these rules since their number of finalized sanctions was high enough by November 2015. Bulgaria is barred and Romania lost one (1) quota place.

However by now more provisional suspensions have been handed out. An unofficial count – assuming all suspensions will result in sanctions – affects the following countries with the number of quota places lost in brackets:

  • Azerbaijan (2)
  • Belarus (1)
  • Kazakhstan (2)
  • Moldova (2)
  • North Korea (2)
  • Russia (2)
  • Uzbekistan (1)

For an unofficial count of confirmed sanctions plus provisional suspensions for all countries see here.

When and whether these sanctions in limbo are made official (or not) is not transparent at the moment. The previous two country verdicts were announced at the Executive Board Meeting during the 2015 WWC. The next EBM is scheduled for 22 June 2016, however the qualification timeline (page 10 of the PDF) marks 20 June 2016 as the day the IWF informs countries of their allocated quota places. Which would technically render any penalties enacted at the EBM two days too late.

Is Zhang Wangli the lightest woman to clean and jerk 150kg?


Despite Betteridge’s law the answer to this question is likely yes. In case you’re not familiar, in September 2015 at the IWF Grand Prix, Zhang Wangli managed to clean and jerk 150kg at a bodyweight of only 65.14kg.

0:34 in the video:

She repeated the same weight slightly heavier (65.60kg) about a month later at the National Youth Games.

0:40 in the video:

I originally made the claim in the AllThingsGym comment section. So why only “likely” and not “definitely”? The simple answer is due to a lack of access to Chinese statistics.

In IWF competition to my knowledge Zhang Wangli surely is. The previous “best” was by World champion and former WR holder at 63kg Liu Haixia. At the 2007 Asian championships she also clean and jerked 150kg, weighing 65.50kg.

With regards to competitions in China (Nationals, National Games) there is a minor uncertainty since protocols aren’t available. The 63kg record was just recently increased to 149kg by Deng Wei, so the only option are light 69kg women.

Candidates would be for example Liu Chunhong, Li Liying or again Liu Haixia.

The imho greatest female lifter of all time Liu Chunhong was a full 69 for her entire career, including as early as 2002 when she was 17. Liu lifted 155kg in November 2001 at the National Games, the available data doesn’t mention her weight however I strongly doubt she was as low as 65.1kg.

Li Liying didn’t compete much internationally, however she won the 2005 National Games with 125/150/275. Since I lack information with regards to her weight at the time I won’t speculate either way.

Liu Haixia was a full 69kg in 2005-2006 coming down to 63kg in 2007 for the Nationals in May. Her 150kg lift was in April so this seems to have been a unique circumstance while changing the class.

With all that said – and until more information emerges – I still think that yes, it’s safe to say that Zhang Wangli is the lightest woman to ever clean and jerk 150kg.

Lastly, some early evidence of her talent, a 115kg at 53kg C&J at the 2011 Intercity Games, where she was only 15 years old.

50:50 in the video:

The fraud of Bulgaria, an annotated timeline


I’ve posted this elsewhere first, but now for posterity.

1988: At the Seoul Olympic Games, winners Mitko Grablev and Angel Genchev fail their doping tests and after the second ban the Bulgarian federation withdraws the rest of the team. This scandal causes the IOC to threaten to eliminate weightlifting as an Olympic sport. Head coach Ivan Abadjiev resigns.

1989-1994: Four lifters fail newly instituted training tests, including junior world champion Mitko Mitev.

1995: Seven lifters fail a pre-WWC training test, including world champion Petar Stefanov and world medalists Angel Genchev (again), Radostin Panayotov, Zhaneta Georgieva plus Daniela Kerkelova.

1996-1999: Three lifters fail tests including world champion Milena Trendafilova and a minor.

2000: A repeat of 1988. At the Sydney Olympic Games, winner Izabela Dragneva and medalists Ivan Ivanov plus Sevdalin Minchev fail the doping test. The rest of the Bulgarian team gets banned. Ivan Abadjiev gets dismissed once more (he was head coach again since 1997). Petar Tanev and Andrei Ivanov, two Bulgarians lifting for Qatar, don’t enter the competition due to “sudden sickness”.

2003: Olympic/world champions Galabin Boevski, Georgi Markov and Zlatan Vanev try to cheat a pre-WWC training test by submitting an identical extrinsic sample. Boevski’s ban is the second after 1995.

2004-2007: Three lifters fail training tests including Olympic/world medalist Alan Tsagaev.

2006: Under Bulgarian head coach Georgi Ivanov nine Iranian lifters fail a pre-WWC training test, including a minor. Ivanov gets banned for life.

2008: Eleven lifters fail a pre-OG training test. Bulgaria withdraws from the Olympics. This is the second ban for Georgi Markov, Alan Tsagaev and Ivan Stoitsov. Others include world champion Donka Mincheva and Olympic/world medalists Velichko Cholakov, Demir Demirev, Ivaylo Filev plus Gergana Kirilova.

2009-2011: There are no Bulgarian lifters at three consecutive world championships.

2009-2013: Five lifters fail tests, including Youth Olympics winner Georgi Shikov.

2009-2013: Under Bulgarian coach Stefan Stefanov five Malaysian lifters fail tests.

2013: Under Bulgarian head coach Zlatan Vanev (cf. 2003) eighteen Azerbaijani lifters fail tests, inculding former Bulgarians and two minors.

2015: Eleven lifters fail a pre-EWC training test, including a minor. As a consequence Bulgaria gets banned from entering the next Olympics and Youth Olympics per violation of the qualification rules.