An ancient sport, weightlifting has been a regular event in the Summer Olympics since 1896 for men.  Women’s World Championships were launched in 1987 and they joined the Olympic Games in 2000.

Weightlifting requires a combination of power, strength and speed, technique, flexibility, consistency, concentration and timing.  Competitors are required to attempt a maximum weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates (discs). Essentially, it involves learning the most effective and efficient techniques for carrying out two (2) lifts, namely: the CLEAN & JERK and the SNATCH.

Weightlifters compete in bodyweight categories, according to their bodyweight. There are eight bodyweight categories for male athletes: 56kg, 62kg, 69kg, 77kg, 85kg, 94kg, 105kg, +105kg and seven for female athletes: 48kg, 53kg, 58kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg, +75kg.

Each competition is a final, no matter how many groups are contested within a category, whereas athletes are ranked in accordance with their performance. In the case of identical results, according to their bodyweight measured prior to the competition (lighter wins). In Olympic competitions, the aggregate of the best snatch and clean and jerk results (total) is considered for the ranking. Should a competitor fail to lift in all three attempts in each category, he/she will be disqualified. Weightliftting is a thinking athlete’s game. Strategy between athlete and coach is vital.


In the clean and jerk, which is a two-phase lift, the lifter first pulls the barbell in a single movement from the platform to the shoulders (the clean) and, after having returned the feet to the same line, the athlete bends the legs and extends them as well as the arms to bring the barbell to the full stretch of the arms vertically extended (the jerk).

1. The lifter begins by gripping the bar with palms facing downwards.

2. In the clean phase, the barbell is lifted in a single movement from the platform to the shoulder.

3. The barbell rests on the upper chest with arms bent and the lifter in a squatting position.

4. The lifter then moves into a standing position in preparation for the jerk phase.

5. In the jerk phase, the lifter splits the legs and extends the arms to raise the bar above the head.

6. The feet must be brought together and the lifter must remain still for the attempt to be deemed a success.


In the snatch, the barbell is pulled in a single movement from the platform to the full extent of both arms above the head, while either splitting the legs or squatting, followed by a recovery to a fully erect body.

1. The lifter begins by gripping the bar with palms facing downwards.

2. The lifter snatches the bar from the floor.

3. In the same movement, the lifter assumes a squatting position. The bar is held above the head with arms straight.

4. The lifter then drives upwards and straightens the legs.

5. Once the lifter is deemed to be in complete control of the weight, the lift is signalled a success.

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