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Home Sports Weightlifting | All you need to know about the sport

Weightlifting | All you need to know about the sport

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Weightlifting, often known as Olympic-style weightlifting, is a sport in which an athlete does a single maximum-weight lift with a barbell loaded with weight plates.

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The snatch and the clean and jerk are the two competition lifts in sequence. The snatch is a one-move lift with a broad grip. The clean and jerk is a two-move lift that requires a tight grip. Each weightlifter is given three tries in each category, with the agreed amount of the top two successful lifts determining the overall result.

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Weightlifting Sport: History

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The sport of weightlifting has a long history. The lifting of a particular rock was the traditional test of masculinity for many primitive societies. Such masculine stones may be seen in Greek and Scottish castles, some with the name of the first lifter carved on them. Competitive stone lifting is still practiced in Germany, Switzerland, Montenegro’s mountains, and Spain’s Basque area. In many of these competitions, the number of consecutive lifts in a certain period is utilized to determine the winner.

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Strong men from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Eugene Sandow and Arthur Saxon of Germany, George Hackenschmidt of Russia, and Louis Apollon of France, who performed in circuses and theatres, are the forerunners of the current weightlifting competition. In London, by 1891, there was an international rivalry.

Olympics Weightlifting

Weightlifting events were featured in the restored Olympic Games of 1896, as well as the Games of 1900 and 1904, however, these sports were then halted until 1920. The International Weightlifting Federation (Fédération Haltérophile Internationale; FHI) was founded in that year, at the request of the International Olympic Committee, to standardize events and oversee the international competition.

By 1928, the previous Games’ one- and two-hand lifts had been replaced by just two-hand lifts: the snatch, clean and jerk, and clean and press (described below). In 1972, the press was shut down.

Before World War II, the top weightlifters in the Games were French, German, and Egyptian. Weightlifters from the United States dominated after the war until 1953. Following that, weightlifters from the Soviet Union and Bulgaria had a near stranglehold on world records and titles. Turkey, Greece, and China were the dominant weightlifting countries by the late 1990s. Except during the war years, world championships were held in 1922–23 and 1937, while European championships were contested from 1924 to 1936. In the year 2000, the Olympic Games included a women’s weightlifting sport.

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Weight lifting Equipments

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  • Barbell: Weightlifting Equipments

The barbell is a steel bar or rod with cast-iron or steel disc weights connected at either end on a rotating sleeve used in modern competition lifting. The weights added range from 25, 20, 15, 10, 5, 2.5, and 1.25 kg (55, 44, 33, 22, 11, 5.5, and 2.75 pounds).


  • Length: 2.2 meters (7.2 ft)
  • Weight: 20 kilograms (44 lb


  • Length: 2.01 meters (6.6 ft)
  • Weight: 15 kilograms (33 lb)
  • Bumper plates: Weightlifting Equipments

Colour Weight (kg) Weight (lb)
red 25 55.12
blue 20 44.09
yellow 15 33.07
green 10 22.05
white 5 11.02
red 2.5 5.51
blue 2 4.41
yellow 1.5 3.31
green 1 2.20
white 0.5 1.10
  • Collars: Weightlifting Equipments

The weight plates at the end of the bar are secured using collars. The weight of each collar is exactly 2.5 kg.

  • Singlet: Weightlifting Equipments

Lifters typically wear a one-piece, close-fitting cloth often called a singlet.

  • Belt: Weightlifting Equipments

A weightlifting belt of 120 mm maximum width is often worn by athletes to increase intra-abdominal pressure.

  • Chalk: Weightlifting Equipments

Lifters rub their hands with the chalk to promote dryness on the palm and prevent the bar from moving in their hands.

  • Tape

  • Shoes

Weightlifting Sport: snatch, clean, and jerk

The snatch, clean and jerk, and press were the three international lifts from 1928 until 1968. (or clean and press). Initially, the barbell lies on the floor in all lifts. Lifts are conducted on a 4 meter (13.1 foot) square wooden platform. The lift is not authorized if a lifter steps off the platform during the lift.

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The Snatch Lift

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The barbell is raised from the floor to arm’s length overhead in a single, continuous, explosive action in the snatch, with the lifter allowed to shift his feet or squat beneath the barbell before returning to an erect posture.

The Clean and Jerk Lift

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The lifter jerks the barbell overhead to arm’s length after lifting it to the shoulders, with no limits on the amount of time it takes to perform the lift or leg movements. Both lifts require the lifter to finish with their feet in line, their bodies upright, their arms and legs extended, and the barbell under control overhead. Either the lifter must hold the weight for two seconds aloft or wait for the referee’s signal before lowering the barbell back to the floor.

The press was a two-part lift as well. The barbell is brought to the lifter’s shoulders in the same way it was in the clean and jerk, and the same foot action is permitted. The lifter then had to remain erect until the referee indicated for the lift to be completed, which was accomplished by forcing the barbell upward in a steady continuous action to arm’s length overhead without the use of the legs.

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Weightlifting Rules

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A weightlifter is given 3 snatch attempts and 3 clean and jerk attempts each. A weightlifter’s best attempt at snatch and the clean and jerk are then added up. The one with the highest combined weight lifted is declared as the winner.

In case two weightlifters have lifted the same combined weight, then the one with the lower bodyweight is declared the winner. In the event of the bodyweight also being equal, the one with lesser attempts will be the winner.

A participant is allowed to increase the weight for his next attempt after a successful lift. The one who decides to lift the lowest weight in the 1st attempt is allowed to go 1st and he must attempt to lift within one minute of his name being called out in any tournament.

Olympic Weightlifting: Weight categories

Men compete in eight body-weight categories (with upper limits)

  • 56 kg (123 pounds)
  • 62 kg (137 pounds)
  • 69 kg (152 pounds)
  • 77 kg (170 pounds)
  • 85 kg (187 pounds)
  • 94 kg (207 pounds)
  • 105 kg (231 pounds)
  • and more than 105 kg.

There are seven weight categories for women

  • 48 kilograms (106 pounds)
  • 53 kilograms (117 pounds)
  • 58 kilograms (128 pounds)
  • 63 kilograms (139 pounds)
  • 69 kilograms (152 pounds)
  • 75 kilograms (165 pounds)
  • and more than 75 kilograms.

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Weightlifting in India

Karnam Malleswari was the first Indian woman to earn an Olympic medal when she won bronze in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. She competed at the Asian Championships in Thailand in 1992, finishing second and winning three silver medals. She also placed third in the world championships with three bronze medals.

Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu won the gold medal in the women’s 48 kg category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, while Mirabai Chanu earned silver. Sukhen Dey won gold in the men’s 56 kg category, Ganesh Mali took bronze, and Sathish Sivalingam won gold in the 77 kg category, totaling 328 kg with 149 kg snatch and 179 kg clean and jerk lifts. In the snatch, his lift of 149 kg set a new Games record. With 114 kg snatch and 130 kg clean and jerk lifts, Affin Varghese won the gold medal in the 57 kg division, totaling 298 kg. In the snatch, his lift of 139 kg set a new state record in the junior division.

Last week, Chanu took silver in the 49 kg weightlifting event in the Tokyo Olympics.

The Indian Weightlifting Federation has its headquarters in New Delhi. The Indian Olympic Association (Delhi) is connected with the Federation, which is also a member of the Asian Weightlifting Federation (Tehran) and the International Weightlifting Federation (Budapest). Mr. Sahdev Yadav is the current General Secretary of the Indian Weightlifting Federation.

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Total medals won by Indian weightlifters 

Competition Gold Silver Bronze Total
Olympic Games 0 1 1 2
World Championships Final 3 8 5 16
World Championships 4 20 10 34
Asian Games 0 5 9 14
Commonwealth Games 43 48 34 125
Total 50 80 59 189

Famous Indian Weightlifters


  • Sathish Sivalingam
  • Ragala Venkat Rahul
  • Katulu Ravi Kumar
  • Jeremy Lalrinnunga
  • Vikas Thakur
  • Gurdeep Singh
  • Pardeep Singh
  • Deepak Lather


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