One of Colombia's medallists in Havana, the 67 kilograms world champion Francisco Mosquera, won again at the Central American and Caribbean Games ©Getty Images

Colombia's decision to focus on topping the weightlifting medals table at the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador paid off when it won 26 medals, including more than half of the 32 golds on offer.

Five of those 19 golds, plus two silvers, were won by athletes who had withdrawn after weighing in at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Grand Prix in Havana, Cuba, two weeks earlier.

The Grand Prix was an Olympic qualifier where being present for the weigh-in and anti-doping tests was enough to count as a "participation" in the qualification system for Paris 2024.

Colombia entered a formidable team but because of fitness concerns over some athletes and the plan to win as many medals as possible at the Central American and Caribbean Games, nine of them did not lift and only two won medals.

The Central American and Caribbean Games, like the Mediterranean Games, awards medals in snatch and clean and jerk but not in total, although totals are registered in the results book.

One of Colombia's medallists in Havana, the 67 kilograms world champion Francisco Mosquera, won again at the Central American and Caribbean Games within two weeks. 

Mosquera made 137-180-317, an improvement of 6kg on his total in Cuba where he finished second to the Indonesian Eko Yuli Irawan.

Another Colombian world champion, Yenny Alvarez, won at the Olympic weight of 59kg in El Salvador, where she declined her final attempt but still made an impressive 99-130-229.

Alvarez, third in the Paris 2024 Olympic rankings with a best total off 234kg, was among the withdrawals in Cuba.

The other female Colombian gold medallists in El Salvador were Rosalba Morales on 87-110-197 at 55kg, Julieth Rodriguez and Nathalia Llamosa with one each at 64kg, Mari Sanchez on 108-130-238 at 71kg, in which category she sits fifth in the Paris rankings with a 244kg total, and Hellen Escobar on 104-136-240 at 76kg.

Miguel Suarez at 55kg, Jairo Garcia at 61kg, Mosquera, Gustavo Maldonado at 81kg, Oscar Garces at 109kg and Rafael Cerro in the super-heavyweights were the male gold medallists. 

Garces and Cerro both withdrew in Havana.

Two of Colombia’s best talents, Luis Javier Mosquera and Yeison Lopez Lopez, did not lift in either Cuba or El Salvador but they are entered for the World Championships in Saudi Arabia in September.

Colombia, the host nation, also finished top of the medals table at the Pan American Junior Championships in Manizales last month.

There were two big-name winners for Venezuela in the Central American and Caribbean Games, Julio Mayora on 147-183-330 at 73kg and Keydomar Vallenilla on 167-210-377 at 96kg.

Cuba's Arley Calderon, third in Havana at 61kg, declined his last two attempts but made the best total in El Salvador on 124-155-279.

There was an excellent performance by 18-year-old Marifelix Sarria from Cuba in the women's super-heavyweights, where she made 112-152-264. 

That was a big improvement on the 250kg total that earned here 15th place in the Paris rankings.

Beatriz Piron from the Dominican Republic was another who followed up victory in Cuba by winning again in El Salvador, taking snatch gold at 49kg and making a bigger total on 85-103-188 than her team-mate Dahiana Ortiz on 81-105-186.