Loredana-Elena Toma made a snatch world record of 119kg in the women's 71kg ©ITG

Loredana-Elena Toma finally got the better of Chinese opponents to win her second world title and become the only non-Asian holder of a current world record in women's weightlifting.

In the other medal event of the day at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships in Bogotá, Colombia, Lesman Paredes won at 96 kilograms to give Bahrain its first-ever world title.

Paredes had won at the same weight in last year's IWF World Championships for Colombia, his homeland, before switching nationality.

In a tense finish to the women's 71kg Toma, from Romania, had to wait for her moment of glory.

Having spent most of her career beating everybody else except the best from China - usually Deng Wei - and North Korea, Toma must have been thinking, 'is it going to happen again?'

She had built a big lead by making her first five attempts - including a snatch world record of 119kg - but when she missed the last clean and jerk, her frustration showed as she left the platform.

One athlete had two lifts remaining and 7kg to make up, another needed 4kg more with one attempt to come - and both were from China.

First up was 23-year-old Zeng Tiantian, in with a chance of a gold medal in her first international competition: she failed at 144kg.

Next was Liao Guifang, who had not been seen in international competition since she won the Junior world title in 2019.

She went up 7kg for two attempts at 147kg, but failed both times and Toma had her second world title.

When she won the first, in Anaheim, California in 2017, neither China nor North Korea had been there.

Toma had been excluded from the Tokyo Olympic Games because of a doping-related ban on the Romanian Weightlifting Federation.

Lesman Paredes won at 96 kilograms to give Bahrain its first-ever world title ©ITG
Lesman Paredes won at 96 kilograms to give Bahrain its first-ever world title ©ITG

Asked what it meant to finally prove herself the best in the world by getting the better of Chinese opponents, Toma struggled for words and said: "I wish I could explain it…", before disappearing to pose with fans for some photos.

While she was doing that, a friend revealed that Toma had had her phone stolen by a monkey while she was training in Bali earlier this year.

Had she got it back?

"No," she said. 

"I had to win here tonight to be able to buy a new one."

She may not smile very often, but clearly Toma has a sense of humour.

She finished on 119-137-256, ahead of Zeng on 113-140-253 and Angie Palacios of Ecuador on 116-136-252.

Liao won the clean and jerk on 140kg, from Zeng also on 140kg and the American Olivia Reeves on 138kg, but was fourth on total after missing two of her snatch attempts.

Paredes, who set a snatch world record when he won for Colombia a year ago this week, was a clear winner of the men’s 96kg for Bahrain, which persuaded two top international lifters to switch nationality in August - Paredes and Gor Minasyan from Armenia.

Both Paredes and Minasyan won at the Asian Championships to earn Bahrain its first continental successes in October, and there was little doubt that a first world title would follow when Paredes made all three snatches to lead by 11kg at halfway.

He eased off slightly in the clean and jerk because, having recovered from hip surgery, he had suffered a minor adductor injury at the Asian Championships.

"There was a lot of pressure competing here, but I was very happy with the performance," he said, happy enough to do a little dance on the stage.

Before every lift Lesman, 26, stands tall above the bar and slowly sweeps his hands wide in a calming motion.

"I do it to clear my mind of energies, to help me focus only on the bar, like meditation," he said.

"I did it for the first time at last year's World Championships in Uzbekistan."

So the calmness has helped him to two world titles and an Asian Championships victory.

"Yes, it works, doesn’t it!" he said.

Eshaq Ebrahim Eshaq, President of the Bahrain Weightlifting Federation, said: "It means the world to me personally, and I’m so happy for Lesman.

"He did what he had to do and we made history."

Eshaq has spoken before of another ambition for Bahrain: to host a major IWF event.

"It would be a dream… we’re looking forward to an opportunity if it arises," he said.

Paredes, who was second in the clean and jerk, made 185-212-397 to finish 14kg ahead of Nurgissa Adiletuly of Kazakhstan, the snatch silver medallist, on 174-209-383.

Colombia had a sweep of bronze medals when Jhor Moreno made 171-209-380.

The clean and jerk gold was won by Romain Imadouchene, who celebrated wildly after making 213kg and showed his delight again in the warm-up room when Paredes failed with his final attempt at 214kg.

Imadouchene, whose preparations were hampered by a knee injury, was the first World Championships gold medallist for France since Venceslas Dabaya in 2006.

Only seven of 12 made a total in the A Group because of one withdrawal and four bomb-outs.

Chinese Taipei withdrew Chen Po-Jen and, later, Chen Wen-Huei from the women's 71kg - following the lead of China, who pulled out two of their big stars yesterday but still logged one of their five Olympic qualifying appearances. 

Forrester Osei, who lifts for Ghana and chairs the IWF Athletes' Commission, injured his elbow while lifting in the C Group in the morning.

He was taken to hospital and later released.