ANAHEIM (Reuters) - Chile’s Arley Mendez returned from more than four years of international competitive exile to defeat Iran’s Olympic champion Kianoush Rostami in the men’s 85 kilogram class at weightlifting’s World Championships on Sunday, while Sohrab Moradi broke two world records in the 94kg class.
Mendez, who never returned home after competing for his native Cuba in the Pan American Junior Championships in Santiago in 2013, posted a total of 378kg to win gold ahead of Poland’s Krzysztof Zwarycz (359kg). Italy’s Antonino Pizzolato lifted 358 kgs to clinch third.
Mendez was only granted citizenship by Chile this year.
He could have also taken Rostami’s clean and jerk world record had he not failed with his final attempt at 221kg.
“My finger got stuck on the bar, a technical problem,” said Mendez. “Next year the records will come. I prepared well and I knew I would win here.”
Rostami, who injured his left knee last week, missed all three clean and jerk attempts and failed to register a total.
Moradi, who won gold in Rio last year, broke two world records in winning the 94 kilogram class, to take an easy win over Lithuania’s Aurimas Didzbalis by 29 kilograms.
Iran’s Seyedayoob Mousavijahari was in third place, three kilograms behind the Lithuanian.
The 29-year-old Moradi jumped from 220kg to 233kg on his fifth lift to break the clean and jerk world record of 232kg set in 2000 by Poland’s Szymon Kolecki, and better by four kilograms his own world record for the total, which he improved to 417kg.
“I wanted to surprise everybody and I did,” said Moradi. “I am proud to make every Iranian across the world very happy.”
In the women’s 75 kilogram class, Spain’s Lydia Valentin, a medallist at the past three Olympic Games, was the clear winner on 258kg from Ecuador’s Neisi Dajomes on 240kg with France’s Gaelle Ketchanke a further three kilograms behind.
Reporting by Brian Oliver; Editing by Greg Stutchbury