Tokyo Olympics 2020: Five weightlifters to watch out for

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Laurel Hubbard, Lasha Talakhadze and more. Here are five weightlifters who could impress at the upcoming Summer Games.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee said the International Weightlifting Federation had revised its qualifying due to the impact of COVID-19, putting Hubbard in the frame for Tokyo selection.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Laurel Hubbard (New Zealand)

Hubbard is set to become the first transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics. She is ranked No. 7 by the International Weightlifting Federation for Tokyo 2020 and has qualified for the women's over-87kg category.

Hubbard, who competed in men's weightlifting competitions before transitioning in 2013, became eligible to compete in the Olympics after 2015 when the IOC changed its guidelines about the inclusion of transgender athletes.

Her selection was met by equal parts of excitement and controversy. The New Zealand Olympic officials who made the call on “a highly sensitive and complex issue” said she had met the IOC’s criteria to compete as a woman and earned her right to respect and inclusion. However, critics including former and current athletes say the 43-year-old Hubbard has an unfair advantage.

RELATED | Athletes mired in controversy ahead of Olympic Games

Lasha Talakhadze (Georgia)

LashaTalakhadze-Cropped

Talakhadze won a gold at the 2016 Rio Games.

 

Talakhadze won a gold at the 2016 Rio Games, completing a snatch of 215kg and a clean and jerk of 258kg in the men's heaviest bodyweight category with a world record total of 473kg.

Talakhadze dominates the men's super-heavyweight class and is a three-time IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) Male Lifter of the Year and has set several world records in his career.

Shi Zhiyong (China)

Zhiyong Shi of China celebrates after securing the gold medal during the Men's 69kg Group A Weightlifting contest on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.   -  Getty Images

 

Shi, who won the men's 69kg gold medal at Rio, holds the world record in men's 73kg class in the snatch, clean and jerk and total. He broke the snatch world record at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in April and set the other two records in 2019.

He will be leading China's weightlifting squad at the Tokyo Games with another Olympic champion Lyu Xiaojun.

Lidia Valentin Perez (Spain)

Perez will be competing at her fourth Olympics after winning silver, gold, and bronze from the last three Games.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Perez will be competing at her fourth Olympics after winning silver, gold, and bronze from the last three Games. She has spent most of her two-decade career in the 75kg.

In Tokyo, she will be competing in the 87kg category for the first time as she qualified for the Games without lifting the weights.

Hidilyn Diaz (Philippines)

The Tokyo Games will be Hidilyn Diaz's fourth and she could become the Philippines' first gold medallist.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

At Rio, Diaz became the nation's first woman to win an Olympic medal by grabbing silver in the 53kg category. The Tokyo Games will be her fourth and she could become the Philippines' first gold medallist.

Diaz, who made a public plea for financial support to continue her career in 2019, won a gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in December of that year. She also won three gold medals at the Weightlifting World Cup event in Rome last year.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :