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Highlights from the World Championships in Riyadh

The World Championships recently concluded in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 4 – 17 September 2023. Competing nations pushed their limits, with many attempting personal bests to secure a coveted spot in the top 10 and a chance to participate in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Highlights from the World Championships in Riyadh

Team GB showcased remarkable technical prowess and unwavering determination throughout the competition. The competition journey for Team GB began on September 5th with Fraer Morrow, who took the stage in the women's 49kg category. Historically a 55kg athlete, Fraer chose to compete as a 49kg athlete in her quest for Olympic qualification. Fraer opened with an impressive snatch attempt at 77kg, breaking the British record. Although she missed her next two attempts at 79kg, she rebounded during the clean and jerk. After missing her opening attempt at 97kg, Fraer successfully lifted it on her second lift. Her third attempt at 100kg fell short, but her total of 174kg set a new British record. Congratulations to Fraer!

Following Fraer, Zoe Smith stepped onto the stage in the women's 59kg. Zoe had a strong start, successfully snatching 87kg and 90kg on her first two attempts. She narrowly missed her third attempt at 92kg. In the clean and jerk, Zoe successfully lifted 113kg but missed her next two attempts at 116kg, resulting in a total of 203kg. Well done, Zoe!

On 08 September, Jon Chin represented the men's team in the 73kg category. Jon made a solid opening snatch attempt at 125kg but struggled with 129kg and 130kg on his subsequent attempts. However, in the clean and jerk, Jon impressed with successful lifts of 162kg and 167kg but missed his final attempt at 170kg, finishing with a total of 292kg. Congratulations, Jon!

In the women's 64kg category, Jess Gordon-Brown encountered a minor setback, missing her opening snatch attempt at 80kg. She quickly recovered, making her next two attempts at 82kg and 85kg. In the clean and jerk, Jess successfully lifted 102kg and 105kg on her first two attempts, opting out of a third attempt and achieving a total of 190kg. Congratulations, Jess!

Laura Wheatcroft, also competing in the women's 64kg category, made a successful opening snatch at 82kg but encountered difficulty with her subsequent attempts at 85kg and 86kg. In the clean and jerk, Laura smoothly lifted 102kg but faced challenges with 104kg and 105kg on her next attempts, resulting in a total of 184kg. Well done, Laura!

Commonwealth Games Champion Chris Murray showcased his strength in the men's 81kg, successfully snatching 138kg and 142kg on his opening attempts. Although he narrowly missed his final attempt at 145kg, Chris confidently completed the clean and jerk with successful lifts of 171kg and 177kg. Unfortunately, he missed his last attempt at 182kg, concluding with a total of 319kg. Congratulations, Chris!

Erin Barton competed in the women's 71kg category, where she made a strong start with her snatch, successfully lifting 89kg. She encountered a minor setback with a miss at 92kg but persevered, achieving the lift on her third attempt. In the clean and jerk, Erin completed her opening attempt at 118kg but missed the second attempt at 122kg. She regained her composure, added 3kg, and successfully lifted 125kg, resulting in a total of 217kg. Well done, Erin!

Olympian and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Sarah Davies entered the women's 71kg category and made a successful opening snatch attempt at 98kg. Unfortunately, she missed her subsequent attempts at 101kg. In the clean and jerk, Sarah faced challenges, missing all three attempts. Despite the setbacks, we have no doubt she'll come back stronger.

Cyrille Tchatchet II participated in the men's 96kg, successfully snatching 150kg but was unsuccessful on 154kg on his next two attempts. In the clean and jerk, Cyrille impressively lifted 189kg but missed his subsequent attempts at 195kg and 198kg, concluding with a total of 339kg. Well done, Cyrille!

Katrina Feklistova, competing in the women's 81kg category, excelled with her first snatch attempt at 96kg and broke the British record with her second attempt at 99kg. Although she narrowly missed her final attempt at 102kg, Katrina demonstrated exceptional performance in the clean and jerk, successfully lifting 117kg, 121kg, and 126kg. This resulted in a new British record total of 225kg. Well done, Katrina!

The world eagerly anticipated the performance of Emily Campbell, Tokyo 22020 Olympic silver medallist. Unfortunately, due to back issues, Emily made the tough decision to withdraw from the competition to prioritise her health and preparation for the Olympic games next year. Currently ranked third globally, Emily is in a strong position for Olympic qualification, and we look forward to seeing her shine on the world stage once again.

Stuart Martin, Head of Performance at BWL added:

“This year’s World championships was incredibly competitive with the largest number of entries ever for the sport. We have to be honest that results were mixed but we knew coming in that such a large number of lifters in every category would make the competition difficult and we are proud of the athletes for giving it their best effort in challenging circumstances.

Despite the challenges there were stand out performances from Katrina Feklistova and Fraer Morrow who delivered PBs and British records, as well as top 15 finishes for Chris Murray (13th) and Katrina (12th) and Personal bests for Erin Barton.

As a team we are coming back to the U.K. with clear ideas on how to tackle the rest of Olympic qualification. The BWL Podium & Academy programme are now in full swing, and we will continue to help athletes make as much progress as possible and realise their potential working with their personal coaches between now and the end of qualification.”

Final Rankings:

  • Fraer Morrow: 18th
  • Zoe Smith: 25th
  • Jon Chin: 22nd
  • Jess Gordon Brown: 23rd
  • Laura Wheatcroft: 25th
  • Chris Murray: 13th
  • Erin Barton: 25th
  • Sarah Davies: No final rank
  • Cyrille Tchatchet II: 18th
  • Katrina Feklistova: 12th
  • Emily Campbell: No final rank

Congratulations to all the athletes, and a heartfelt thank you to the technical officials, BWL members, and UK Sport, who made this exceptional event possible.


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