Behdad Salimi

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Georgia’s Talakhadze sets WR, takes gold in super heavyweight weightlifting

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After setting the world record in the snatch portion of the competition with a lift of 216 kilograms, Iran’s Behdad Salimi appeared to be one of the favorites to win the super heavyweight competition Tuesday night. But to focus on Salimi would be to ignore the fact that the reigning world champion was also in the mix, and in the end it was he who would take gold.

WATCH: Talakhadze sets world record, wins gold

Georgia’s Lasha Talakhadze, who won last year’s Weightlifting World Championships, took gold with an overall weight lifted of 473 kilograms (just under 1,043 pounds). Talakhadze reached that mark on his final clean and jerk lift of 258 kilograms, breaking the world record set by Iran’s Rezah Zadeh in Beijing eight years ago by a single kilogram. As for Salimi, he failed to register a clean lift in three attempts at 245 kilograms in the clean and jerk, thus ending his competition.

WATCH: Talakhadze sets world record, Salimi immediately takes it

Taking silver was Gor Minasyan of Armenia with a total weight lifted of 451 kilograms, with Georgia’s Irakli Turmanidze taking bronze with a total weight lifted of 448 kilograms. Prior to tonight, Georgia had a total of two Olympic weightlifting medals in their history as an independent nation.

With Minasyan taking silver, two of the three medalists at last year’s Worlds reached the medal stand. The exception was Estonia’s Mart Seim, who after finishing second at the Worlds finished seventh Tuesday night. Seim’s final clean and jerk attempt of the night, at 255 kilograms, would not have been enough to get him onto the medal stand.

WATCH LIVE: Weightlifting concludes with men’s super heavyweights

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The men’s weightlifting super heavyweight division is on the schedule for Wednesday, with Iran’s Behdad Salimikordasiabi among the gold medal contenders. The current world record holder in the snatch with a lift of 214 kilograms (471.8 pounds), Salimikordasiabi is considered to be one of the world’s strongest men.

But he’ll have plenty of competition Tuesday evening in Group A, with the reigning world champion in Georgia’s Lasha Talakhadze also competing. The top three finishers in last year’s world championships are in Group A, with Estonia’s Mart Seim and Armenia’s Gor Minasyan also in Rio. There may not be any Americans in this competition, but with the weightlifters providing some of the best celebrations to go along with their weightlifting feats this is a competition you won’t want to miss.

WATCH LIVE: Men’s super heavyweight, Group B — 2:30 p.m. Eastern

WATCH LIVE: Men’s super heavyweight, Group A — 6 p.m. Eastern

World records fall at Weightlifting World Championships

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Article by Dan Levinsohn

Ten world records fell this week at the IWF World Weightlifting Championships, which concluded last night in Houston, shedding light on who will contend for a medal next summer in Rio.

The tournament brought together 609 lifters from a record breaking 98 participating countries, with men competing in eight different weight classes and women in seven.

The athletes didn’t waste any time getting to work rewriting the record books. On the first night of competition in the men’s 56kg division, London gold medalist Om Yun Chol of North Korea lifted a 171kg in the clean and jerk. His previous world record stood at 170kg, set at the 2014 Asian Games.

Though Om claimed his fifth total title at the World Weightlifting Championships with 302kg, he barely took gold over China’s snatch winner and London silver medalist, Wu Jingbiao, who lifted the same total weight. Om ultimately won through body weight tiebreaker. Neither the snatch nor the total lifts were all-time bests.

Some of the other world records included Azerbaijan’s Boyanka Kostova winning 112kg in the snatch and 252kg total in the women’s 58kg division, China’s Deng Wei lifting 146kg in the 63kg category’s clean and jerk, and Russia’s Aleksey Lovchev lifting a 264kg clean and jerk and a 475kg total in the men’s +105kg competition. Snatch world record holder and London gold medalist Behdad Salimi of Iran (+105kg) could not compete in this year’s Championships due to a recent knee injury; he recorded his highest-ever total, 465kg, at the 2014 Asian Games.

Asian countries continued to dominate most fields, with China placing first in six of the 15 total categories and North Korea and Chinese Taipei winning one title each. Overall, Chinese women won 11 gold medals, nine silver, and one bronze, ranking first in the overall medal table. Though China’s men won seven gold medals, three silver, and one bronze, Russia’s men took first place with seven golds, four silvers, and two bronzes.

The United States saw particularly impressive results from its female athletes, who finished 14th overall in the women’s medals. In the 75kg division, Jenny Arthur placed seventh in the clean and jerk with 138kg; she placed eighth in total with 244kg. In the +75kg category, Sarah Robles claimed a 122kg snatch and 157kg clean and jerk for a sixth place total finish of 279kg.

Perhaps the Championship’s most dramatic moment occurred during the women’s 75kg event. North Korea’s Rim Jong-Sim, who previously won gold in the 69kg division at the London Olympics, injured herself during her third snatch attempt (video here). First, she tore the labrum in her left hip. Then, defying doctor’s orders, she injured a stretch muscle and hurt her left knee on three subsequent clean and jerk attempts. She collapsed soon after her lift and was eventually hoisted onto the awards-ceremony podium by her fellow athletes, ultimately finishing second.

NBC Researcher Dylan Howlett contributed to this article from Houston.