Thanaporn Saetia was one of two debut winners in Durres ©ITG

Thailand had two debut winners on day five of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Youth Championships and one of them, Thanaporn Saetia, is hoping to step straight up to senior level by lifting at the Asian Championships in Jinju, South Korea next month.

Saetia was impressive in taking a sweep of golds in the women's 64 kilograms, failing only with her final attempt to finish with 93-113-206. 

That would have earned her second place in the heavier 71kg category where the clear winner was her team-mate Phattharathida Wongsing.

Five more nations came into the medals table throughout the day here - Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela, Finland and Syria. 

So far 27 nations have won medals.

Saetia, 17 last week, was a late starter compared to many of the athletes in Durres, and she is from a family with no sporting background. 

The key moment was meeting Sukanya Srisurat four years ago when Thailand's Rio 2016 Olympic champion visited a sports school in Chonburi.

She persuaded Saetia to try weightlifting and the newcomer immediately fell in love with it. 

"Sukanya Srisurat is my idol, I want to be like her," Saetia said. 

Kerem Kurnaz made six from six to claim victory in the men's 89kg ©ITG
Kerem Kurnaz made six from six to claim victory in the men's 89kg ©ITG

"I have a dream to go to the Olympic Games.

"When I started I paid close attention to what I was told and it was just training, training, training. 

"I like all the exercises, all the movements."

Thailand clearly has high hopes of Saetia. 

This was her first competition, and team manager Phetkasem Rataporn said her second could be the senior Asian Championships, an Olympic qualifying event that runs from May 3 to 13 in Jinju. 

There would be no pressure on her to win a medal and she would learn from the experience, he said.

"For young athletes here or anywhere we try to make the competition more like a training session than worry about winning medals," he added. 

"We make training like a competition, and make a competition like training."

Saetia was five kilograms clear of Taissiya Alexeyeva from Kazakhstan, who made 89-112-201. 

The Colombian Ingrid Segura, seeking a third straight youth world title at this weight, was way below her best in third place on 86-108-194.

Olivia Selemaia of New Zealand had her country's best ever result at the World Youth Championships when she finished fourth on 84-107-191, the same winning total she made in winning the Oceania youth and junior titles at 71kg last May. 

Wongsing, also from the Chonburi sport school and also making her first appearance in international competition, was a wide-margin winner at 71kg, posting 92-120-212. 

Burcu Gercekden from Turkey was next on 88-113-201 and the Venezuelan Keily Silva third on 87-112-199. 

Last year's runner-up Anna Ylisoini, from Finland, took the snatch silver on 91kg and finished fourth on total with 198kg.

Turkey had its first winner of the week when Kerem Kurnaz made six from six in the men's 89kg, finishing with 144-183-327. 

It was a great effort because Kurnaz, 16, said he had to overcome injury since his victory in the European Youth Championships in 2021.

Olympic silver medallist Julio Mayora added Pan American gold   ©Getty Images
Olympic silver medallist Julio Mayora added Pan American gold ©Getty Images

"I broke my arm in three places in training and also I had shoulder surgery for another injury," he said. 

He will try for a second European title in Moldova in July.

Kurnaz’s father and coach Hayrettin was a national champion and his 18-year-old brother Hakan is the junior world champion at 81kg. 

The winner was the only one of 16 athletes in this category to post a bigger total than Levan Ochigava made in winning for Georgia at 81kg on Tuesday (March 28).

Nurdos Sabyr of Kazakhstan was second on 145-176-321 and Valerik Movsisyan from Armenia third on 140-166-306. 

Ahmad Shammaa from Syria made 41kg more in clean and jerk than snatch, taking the clean and jerk bronze and fourth place overall on 130-171-301.

The highlight of the day in the Pan American Championships in Bariloche, Argentina, was Julio Mayora's victory at 73kg.

The Venezuelan Olympic silver medallist needed a good performance after bombing out in the first Paris 2024 qualifier, the IWF World Championships in Colombia in December.

He made four good lifts this time to finish on 148-184-332, sixth best in the early ranking list.

Ryan Grimsland of the United States was second on 141-182-323 and the Mexican Jorge Cardenas third on 140-170-310.

Darvin Castro won the 81kg title with a lower total than his fellow Venezuelan Mayora, making 144-180-324 before declining his final attempt.