Weightlifting – Overview
Weightlifting is an athletic discipline which requires lifting of heavy weights in a progressive manner. It not only tests the physical prowess of an individual but also his/her rate of force generation, i.e., ballistic actions of lifting the weights in minimum amount of time.
This sport has its root in ancient Egyptian and Greek societies, and was introduced in the international arena for the first time in the 19th century at 1896 Athens games. Its popularity has increased many-folds since then and it is played, practised and has its audience all over the world.
The weightlifters need to perform two basic lifts – the snatch and the clean and jerk. The first involves a continuous motion of lifting the weight over the head in an extended position of arms, whereas the latter is a discrete process which involves lifting the weight to shoulder level and then over the head in an extended position of arms.
The lifters have to lift heavier metal weights in progression. The scoring is based on the cumulative weight lifted by a participant after lifting an official weight, which deems them qualified. The top scorer is adjudged as the winner.
In weightlifting, tournaments are conducted by the International Weightlifting Federation (IFW). Each country is allowed to have a team of ten men and nine women athletes, but only eight men and seven women athletes are allowed to participate. In fact, in each category only single participant is allowed.
Weightlifting is considered as one of the most popular competitive sports all over the world. Being a strength testing game, it has its own set of fan following. Both Asian and non-Asian countries participate in abundance in the Asian Games, the World Weightlifting Championship and the Olympics, which gives the testimony of its popularity over the world.
Among Asian countries, weightlifting has its craze in countries like China and Kazakhstan, which also top the list of countries with maximum number of medals in international events like World Weightlifting Championship and the Summer Olympics.
Iran, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Uzbekistan and Iraq has huge support to weightlifting game and these countries has had a history of producing champions in this sports genre.
In the recently concluded 2014 Asian Games at Incheon, South Korea, around 200 lifters participated from 32 nations with maximum participation from China, Kazakhstan and South Korea.
The United States of America has the best performers in weightlifting tournaments among the non-Asian countries. The success of The United States of America is due to the relentless effort made by the national governing body, the USA Weightlifting (USAW). Events like National Championship and American Open are the pinnacle of weightlifting competitions undertaken by the USAW.
Being originated in Greece, the sport derives huge support in European countries like Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia, Greece etc. The European Weightlifting Federation recognises, organises and facilitates all the major weightlifting events in this region.