Hampton Morris broke his own junior world record at the Pan American Junior Championships in Lima ©PAWF

Hampton Morris broke his own junior world record at the Pan American Junior Championships in Lima - an event that has made its own mark by becoming the first major international competition this century to operate with two platforms.

The 18-year-old American is the second junior world champion of the week to set a world record, after Belgium's Nina Sterckx did it twice in the European Junior Championships in Durres in Albania.

Morris made 163 kilograms in Peru to better his own 61kg clean and jerk world record by 1kg and take a sweep of golds on 123-163-286.

That career best is 7kg short of the junior world record on total, held by Adkhamjon Ergashev of Uzbekistan, but Morris has another couple of years to better it and his rapid improvement suggests it is well within his grasp.

When he won the Pan American youth title just over three years ago Morris made 243kg, since when he has won seven world and Pan American titles and steadily taken his best total up by 43kg.

The senior clean and jerk world record of 174kg, held by Eko Yuli Irawan of Indonesia, may come under threat from Morris in the next couple of years at this rate.

Sterckx, 20, holds youth world records at two weights but no Belgian weightlifter had ever held a junior world record before she made a clean and jerk of 118kg to claim a sweep of European Junior golds at 55kg in Durres.

That gave junior world champion Sterckx, who was competing in her 19th competition in five years, junior world records in clean and jerk and total.

Her 213kg total was a career best by 8kg, and another big improvement is in her social media following, which has risen by 60 per cent since in six months to 30,000.

The previous junior world record-holder on total was Kamila Konotop, the Ukrainian who competed in Durres in the under-23s at 59kg.

Konotop, who finished just ahead of Sterckx in the senior European Championships this year, made 104-116-220.

There was an unusual sight in the under-23 women’s contest at 64kg, when three of the 10 lifters bombed out in the snatch and the entire field made only eight good lifts from 30 attempts.

Even more unusual was the sight of two platforms in Lima, where the South American Junior, Under-17 and Under-15 Championships are running concurrently with the Pan American Juniors.

It is the first time in decades that an official International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) competition has used two platforms rather than one, and it means the action will all be over within five days in Peru.

In Albania it will take 10 days to complete the European Junior and Under-23 Championships, which has 77 more entries with 342.

"Of course there will be people that don’t like it - we all have different opinions," said the Pan American Weightlifting Federation President José Quinones.

"Why did we do it? 

"Having competitions over 10 or 12 days is too much for the athletes, for the federations, for the spectators, for television.

"With two platforms we can cut that to half."

Two platforms are being used in Lima  ©PAWF
Two platforms are being used in Lima ©PAWF

A similar view was expressed last week by Mohamed Jalood, President of the IWF, who told insidethegamesthat plans were in place to have two platforms at Olympic qualifying competitions next year.

Quinones said there had been some mistakes on day one "but by the end it was running smoothly and people were happy - from USA, Canada, Mexico.

"And the public enjoyed it - there's more emotion for the them, and it's better for the athletes.

"We always need to experiment with new ways to bring the public to our sport, more sponsors, the media.

"It’s a circle - we have to work together and consider all these aspects."

The Pan American Weightlifting Federation also led the way, during the COVID-19 pandemic that severely disrupted the sporting calendar, by staging the first IWF-recognised online competition.

"The idea was the same," said Quinones.

"Make it easier for the athletes, better for the sport - let’s do it better."