The podium for the women's 49 kilograms category at the IWF World Championships ©IWF

China began their campaign with a one-two finish and two world records on the second day of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships here in Riyadh.

Jiang Huihua, who has made 16 good lifts from 18 attempts in Paris 2024 qualifying, succeeded where her team-mate and Olympic champion Hou Zhihui had failed in the women’s 49 kilograms.

By finishing off with 120kg Jang, 25, claimed world records in clean and jerk and total, finishing 95-120-215 to move 4kg clear of Hou at the top of the long list in the rankings, and 15kg clear of her nearest rivals in the simplified list.

Hou, who made 95-116-211, had tried to better her own world record on total a minute earlier but failed on 119kg and has now been beaten by Jiang three times.

"The good news for us is that China can only take one athlete to Paris," joked Mike Gattone, a very happy United States performance director after Jourdan Delacruz finished third and joined three others on 200kg in the long list.

All three are Asian, Mirabai Chanu from India - whose clean and jerk record fell to Jiang - and the Thailand pair Surodchana Khambao and Thanyathon Sukcharoen. That is no surprise given that nobody from outside Asia has been on the podium in the lightest women’s category in the past four Olympic Games.

Delacruz, who failed with her first attempts in snatch and clean and jerk, recovered to make 88-112-200, taking bronze in clean and jerk and total.

She is the only non-Asian ever to have totalled 200kg in the 49kg category, a feat she first achieved in winning the Pan American title in 2021.

Did it feel better second time around?

Jourdan Delacruz with the medals she has won at her first IWF World Championships ©IWF
Jourdan Delacruz with the medals she has won at her first IWF World Championships ©IWF

"Oh yes," said Delacruz, "because these are my first World Championships medals.

"I was disappointed to miss my openers but there were a lot of successes there and I’m really proud of myself.

"I love competing, but what really gives me the biggest buzz in weightlifting is reaching my personal goals and to keep improving - it’s a long-term thing for me and it’s going well."

There were some big moves in the Olympic rankings, led by 19-year-old Rosegie Ramos from the Philippines. Ramos went from 49th in the long list, where she was behind team-mate Lovely Inan, to the top 10 on the simplified version by making a five-from-six 86-102-188. Inan failed to make a total.

Mihaela Cambei from Romania was only 2kg short of 200kg when she won the European title in April and it was looking good for her when she came out last in the snatch - a rarity with two Chinese lifters in the field - and made 90kg, which won her the snatch bronze.

But two failures followed, the second of them when she dropped the bar off the front of the platform, and there was a repeat in clean and jerk when Cambei opened with 105kg before two missed attempts.

Cambei, a hugely popular athlete with 240,000 social media followers, is entered for the IWF Grand Prix in Qatar in December, when she will have another chance to become the first European to breach the 200kg mark.

Jiang Huihua claimed world records in both clean and jerk and total in the women's 49kg ©IWF
Jiang Huihua claimed world records in both clean and jerk and total in the women's 49kg ©IWF

Khambao as fourth on total on 87-109-196, and Hayley Reichardt of the United States was a place behind Cambei in sixth, making only two good lifts in a total of 189kg.

While other medal contenders saw red lights, there were none for the Chinese until Hou’s failed world record attempt.

In a competitive B Group only one athlete gained ground in the rankings, while three failed with their final attempt when success would have given them a better qualifying total.

Fang Wan-Ling from Chinese Taipei made six from six for 80-105-185, which put her into the top 10 before the A Group started.

The three who either stayed where they are or dropped down were Yesica Hernandez from Mexico, the 2018 Youth Olympic Games champion who was 1kg short of her best on 80-103-183, Ajima Chiaki from Japan, who made only two good lifts for 77-100-177, and Giulia Imperio from Italy.

Imperio was three from four on 183kg, equalling her best effort in the rankings, but failed with her last two attempts and has now made only 10 good lifts from 24 in four qualifying competitions.

Britain’s Fraer Morrow had another struggle to cut down to 49kg and made two from six in her 77-97-174, which improved her qualifying total by 2kg but leaves her about 20 places below the all-important top 10.