Olympic champion Li Wenwen was a clear winner in the women's super-heavyweights ©ITG

The Olympic champion Li Wenwen from China has all but qualified for Paris 2024 already after finishing 24kg clear of her nearest rival - Britain's Tokyo silver medallist Emily Campbell - in the women's super-heavyweights at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships.

The top 10, from different nations, in the rankings at the end of April 2024 - based on the single best performance from at least five participations during qualifying - are guaranteed a place for Paris provided their National Federation selects them.

Nobody else in the world is capable of getting anywhere near the numbers posted by 20-year-old Li, who won by 37kg in Tokyo… except perhaps the Russian Tatiana Kashirina, whose world records in the old over-83 kilograms class are bigger than Li's current over-87kg world records.

Kashirina was temporarily suspended two years ago, Russia is banned from competition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), so how can that happen?

The temporary suspension was ended and all charges against Kashirina were dropped by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in August according to the Russian state news agency TASS.

No sanction or provisional suspension against the five-time world champion is listed on the relevant areas of the IWF website.

The rescinded suspension was based on data from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory database for the 2012-2015 period.

After a statement by the IOC today it seems likely that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be able to compete as neutrals in Paris.

Thomas Bach, the IOC President, "explained the unifying mission of the IOC and the Olympic Games enshrined in the Olympic Charter" when he spoke with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

This follows an announcement from Lausanne last week said that the IOC would explore a proposal by the Olympic Council of Asia to host athletes from Russia and Belarus at qualifying events in Olympic sports.

So, could we see Kashirina competing as a neutral at the Asian Championships in South Korea in May?

"We will go along with whatever the IOC decides," said Mohamed Jalood, the IWF President, in Bogotá after Li's victory.

Kashirina has not posted any training photos on social media lately, but anything is possible.

Emily Campbell overcame missing her first clean and jerk to finish second on total ©ITG
Emily Campbell overcame missing her first clean and jerk to finish second on total ©ITG

Asked if she would like Kashirina to compete in Paris, Li said, "I respect all rival athletes the same."

And what about beating Kashirina's over-83kg numbers of 155-193-348, which are all better than Li’s over-87kg world records at 148-187-335?

After pause and prevarication, she said, "Yes, it is my target."

Li came out after everybody else had finished in both snatch and clean and jerk, finishing on 141-170-311.

Campbell had to work hard for silver after missing her first clean and jerk at 157kg.

She earned huge respect from Tim Swords, coach of the fourth-placed finisher Sarah Robles of the United Sates, who wore a Father Christmas hat to receive her snatch silver medal.

"By gosh, Emily’s tough," said Swords. "After she missed that first lift she looked totally drained."

Sarah Robles was in a festive mood when she collected a snatch silver medal ©ITG
Sarah Robles was in a festive mood when she collected a snatch silver medal ©ITG

A game of tactics in changing weights ended about seven minutes after that failure with Campbell having to make 4kg more than her failed lift. 

She did it and then hit a career-best 165kg to claim second place.

"I’ve done a lot of good prep for this and I never miss jerks, it’s one thing I never do, but I felt all over the place," Campbell said.

"This altitude really gets to you and after that last jerk I felt like I was in another world."

There were far fewer no-lifts than in most sessions here.

"Look at that scoreboard, there’s a lot of blue [good lifts] on there," said Campbell, 28.

"You’d think it would be harder for us, at the higher weights at this altitude but that's a good effort all round, a good session."

Campbell made 122-165-287 and the impressive Duangaksorn Chaidee from Thailand made six from six for third place on 126-160-286.

Robles, who finished 127-155-282, made all three snatches for her silver medal.

Another strong favourite, the clean and jerk world record-holder Ruslan Nurudinov of Uzbekistan, won a sweep of golds in the day's other medal event, the men's 109kg.

Nurudinov, who was 31 last month, made only three good lifts but still finished 8kg clear on 177-220-397.

Giorgi Chkheidze of Georgia was second on 170-219-389 and the Colombian Rafael Cerro third on 174-214-388.

The two snatch medallists behind Nurudinov, Mehdi Karami of Iran on 176kg and Aymen Bacha of Tunisia on 175kg, dropped to fourth and fifth on total.