Solfrid Koanda is Norway’s first-ever female world weightlifting champion ©ITG

Solfrid Koanda became Norway’s first-ever female world champion when she won a sweep of golds in the women's 87 kilograms at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships in Bogotá, Colombia.

Her feat was all the more remarkable given that she was working full-time as an electrician last year, and she suffered such a bad injury in training in August that she thought she might not be fit in time for these World Championships.

Because of that stress fracture in her wrist, Koanda was training first with a stick, then just a bar until only a few weeks before she competed here.

She was also without her usual support team of Stian Grimseth, President of the Norwegian Weightlifting Federation who had to return home early for back surgery this week, and coach Zygmunt Smalcerz, who did not travel to Colombia.

Koanda, 24, who was in tears after the medal ceremony, turned for help to Britain's Dave Sawyer, who joined the team to help her tactically last night.

"Not long ago I didn’t even know if I would be able to compete, and now I am standing here with three gold medals - a dream come true," she said.

"All I’ve been thinking about is my journey since August. 

"It's been very slow, very hard work, and I am really proud of myself.

"For a World Championship you have to be tactical and make smart choices, so Dave was perfect for us today. 

"Without him I think I would have been a little bit lost."

Solfrid Koanda overcame a fractured wrist to compete at the IWF World Championships ©ITG
Solfrid Koanda overcame a fractured wrist to compete at the IWF World Championships ©ITG

Koanda is a friend of Emily Campbell, Britain’s Olympic medallist who trains at Sawyer's gym. 

She spent some time there in preparation for Colombia and asked Sawyer to help here "because I trust him".

She had cut down to working 40 per cent as an electrician this year to spend more time training, and could not work at all because of her injury.

"I had to slow everything down. 

"It gave me a chance to work on myself as an athlete, mainly in the head, and now I’m full-time as a weightlifter."

Grimseth, whose surgery was successful, said, "This is incredible. 

"Solfrid has been training Olympic lifts with a stick and a bar from early September almost until mid-November. 

"She increased slowly to start with, then more and more in the two last weeks.

"She has done a lot of other training, and I see a big progress coming for the Europeans."

The European Championships are in Armenia in May, by when Koanda will have dropped down to the Olympic weight category of 81kg.

Liang Xiaomei won a world title in her first senior international competition ©ITG
Liang Xiaomei won a world title in her first senior international competition ©ITG

The last Norwegian man to win gold at the IWF World Championships was Leif Jenssen in 1972, when one of the other winners was Smalcerz for his native Poland.

Koanda’s only serious challenger for gold was Eileen Cikamatana of Australia, but she failed with four of her six attempts.

Koanda finished 113-147-260, a sweep of career bests, and Cikamatana made 109-140-249, taking bronze in the two lifts and silver on total.

In third place was Tursunoy Jabborova of Uzbekistan, who was second in the snatch, and the clean and jerk silver was won by Ankha Munkhjantsan of Mongolia, who missed all three snatches and was one of five athletes who failed to make a total.

Koanda will face strong opposition in the 81kg class. 

Three hours before her victory, two Olympic champions and a silver medallist from Tokyo lined up for the 81kg and all of them were beaten by China's Liang Xiaomei in her first senior competition.

None of those Olympic medallists - 87kg champion Wang Zhouyu from China, runner-up Tamara Salazar, and her Ecuador team-mate and 76kg winner Neisi Dajomes - even made the podium in the snatch.

Two Ukrainians, the only Europeans among the 11 athletes, won gold and silver in the snatch - Iryna Dekha, who bombed out in Tokyo, on 122kg and Alina Maruschak on 119kg, with Liang third on 118kg.

The Ukrainians dropped away to finish fourth and sixth on total when they both failed twice at 142kg in the clean and jerk.

Dajomes missed two of her clean and jerks to finish fifth, 5kg below her winning total of 263kg in Tokyo. 

Salazar moved up from sixth to third place on 114-148-262, taking the clean and jerk bronze behind Liang and Wang.

Wang went from fifth to second by making all her clean and jerks. 

Her 115-151-266 was 4kg down on her Tokyo total.

Liang was clear on 118-152-270 and even had a shot at a clean and jerk world record, failing with her last attempt at 159kg.

"That’s the first time I have ever beaten Wang Zhouyu," said Liang, "but it doesn’t feel anything special, just another chance to improve."

Liang had competed only once before in international competition, finishing third at the 2016 IWF Junior World Championships.