Weightlifting: After Delay, 31 Nations Qualify After 2014&2015 World Championships

In total, 31 nations qualified athletes to the Olympics based on the Weightlifting Olympic Qualification Rankings. The weightlifting quotas were decided by a ranking system based on the results of the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. The top 25 eligible athletes from each weight class are given points for their nations. Only the top 6 men and top 4 women from each nation are counted towards the rankings. The men ranked 1st-6th will be given 6 athlete quotas, 7th-12th will be given 5, 13th-18th will be given 4 and 19th-24th will be given 3. For the women 1st-9th will be given 4 athlete quotas, 10th-16th will be given 3 and 17th-21st will be given 2. The 2014 World Weightlifting Championship was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan from November 8th to November 16th 2014 while the 2015 World Weightlifting Championship was held in Houston, United States from November 20th to November 28th 2015.

In the men’s events in the 2014 world championship were dominated by Asian nations as they were able to win gold in seven out of the eight events. Only Ruslan Albegov of Russia was able to go against the trend with a gold medal in the +105kg category. China, Kazakhstan and North Korea won two gold medals a piece with Liao Hui of China setting a world record in the -69kg category. The other gold medal went to Kianoush Rostami of Iran in the -85kg. The rankings by the end of the competition had China, North Korea and Kazakhstan holding the top three positions.

The women’s events at the 2014 world championships were similarly dominated by Asian nations with China winning three gold medals. Like with the men Russia was the only non-Asian gold medalist as they won two gold medals and set a new world record in +75kg event by Tatiana Kashirina. The other two events were won by Kazakhstan in the -53kg and North Korea in -69kg. The rankings by the end of the competition had China, Russia and Kazakhstan holding the top three positions.

Between the 2014 and 2015 world championships Bulgaria was banned by the International Weightlifting Federation for repeat drug offenses meaning they were stripped of all their points earned at the 2014 world championships. In the same vein Romania was sanctioned where they would lose one quota spot should they qualify. This caused a delay of the release of the combined results for about a week as the International Weightlifting Federation had to recalculate the scores.

China, Kazakhstan and Russia led all nations in the men’s events as they won gold in two of the overall events. Their performance was capped by world records by China’s Chen Lijun and Russia’s Aleksey Lovchev in the -62kg and +105kg events respectively. North Korea’s Om Yun-Chol retained his world title in the -56kg while the final gold medal went to Belarus’ Vadzim Straltsou in the -94kg. The 2015 rankings were led by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus as China and North Korea finished a bit lower due to failed lifts by some of their athletes.

China continued to be the powerhouse in the women’s events as they won gold in 4 out of the 7 overall events. Azerbaijan’s Boyanka Kostova set a world record in the -58kg event. The other gold medals went to Hsu Shu-Ching of Chinese Taipei in the -53kg while Tatiana Kashirna of Russia retained her crown in the +75kg event. The 2015 rankings were led by China, Russia and North Korea.

For the most part the combined rankings gave the expected nations the expected quotas. One of the bigger surprises was that Iran failed to get 6 men’s quotas, mostly due to their poor performance in the 2015 championship. After only sending three athletes in 2014 and receiving relatively few points Azerbaijan’s 2015 performance gave it enough points to send a team of four males. On the women’s side there was heartbreak for France and Spain as a poor 2015 championship placed them on the outside of the quotas where before it was thought they would easily qualify.

The rankings aren’t completely set in stone as the results need to be confirmed by the drug testing results. Nations not qualifying any quotas will get another opportunity at the continental qualifiers where they will compete to gain a single quota per gender.


Men Rankings by Nation

  1. Russia – 6
  2. Kazakhstan – 6
  3. North Korea – 6
  4. Belarus – 6
  5. China – 6
  6. Egypt – 6
  7. Indonesia – 5
  8. Armenia – 5
  9. Colombia – 5
  10. Uzbekistan – 5
  11. Moldova – 5
  12. Iran – 5
  13. Thailand – 4
  14. Poland – 4
  15. Germany – 4
  16. Azerbaijan – 4
  17. Ukraine – 4
  18. South Korea – 4
  19. France – 3
  20. Vietnam – 3
  21. Georgia – 3
  22. Romania – 3*
  23. Spain – 3
  24. Chinese Taipei – 3


Women Rankings by Nation

  1. China – 4
  2. Russia – 4
  3. North Korea – 4
  4. Kazakhstan – 4
  5. Thailand – 4
  6. Chinese Taipei – 4
  7. Colombia – 4
  8. Belarus – 4
  9. Japan – 4
  10. Ukraine – 3
  11. South Korea – 3
  12. Egypt – 3
  13. Venezuela – 3
  14. United States – 3
  15. Mexico – 3
  16. Turkey – 3
  17. Dominican Republic – 2
  18. Ecuador – 2
  19. Armenia – 2
  20. Indonesia – 2
  21. Romania – 2*


* Romania will have a reduction of one quota




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