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Guest lifters from the USA, Germany, Panama and Thailand joined athletes from all over the continent in the four-day competition which doubled up as the South American Weightlifting Championship.
With the weightlifting events at the Olympic Games to be held in a temporary arena in Rio Centro, which will only be in place closer to Games time, the competition took place in the Carioca Arena 1 of the Olympic Park complex in Barra da Tijuca, while Carioca Arena 2 served as the warm-up area.
The three key areas to be tested during the event were the field of play, results service and the staffing, which were a resounding success.
In the competition itself, the stars of the show turned out to be the Colombian team, whose athletes picked up an impressive six golds and four silvers between them, topping the leaderboard and leaving them in confident mood for Rio 2016. Ecuador came second overall, with two golds and three bronzes, while Brazil, who had 16 athletes competing, finished third with two golds, two silvers and six bronzes.
There was a personal highlight for one of the guest athletes, Almir Velagic of Germany, who won the +105kg with a combined personal best of 421kg.
The same event produced disappointment for Fernando Reis, Brazil’s Pan-American +105kg champion. Having produced a lift of 190kg in the snatch, the highest of the day, he then attempted 200kg for a new all-American record. However, he pulled a ligament in his elbow and was forced to retire from the competition. Thankfully the setback will not impact on his chances of competing on the Olympic stage later this year.
Venezuela’s Jesus Gonzalez claimed gold in the men’s 105kg division, lifting 381kg to finish ahead of David Arroyo of Ecuador, who managed 376kg.
Colombia’s Mosquera Valencia Francisco won the men’s under 62kg event with 298kg, while his compatriot Luis Javier Mosqiera Lozana finished on top of the under 69kg standings with 306kg.
Colombia were awarded the men’s overall team competition trophy, while Brazil took the women’s team title, spearheaded by Rosane Dos Reis Santos, who took gold in the women’s under 53kg event, much to the delight of the home crowd.