Young Welsh weightlifter Darius Jokarzadeh led the way for Great Britain at the World Junior Championships in Peru, securing a bronze medal in the clean and jerk and breaking several British and Commonwealth records in the process.
But Jokarzadeh was not only the only GB athlete to enjoy success at the event in Lima, with both Sonny Webster and Jaswant Shergill posting personal best performances.
Jokarzadeh, 19, finished fourth overall across both disciplines in the 105kg+ category. After a snatch of 170kg, he boosted his total with a superb clean and jerk of 215kg – a new British senior record - while his snatch and clean and jerk were both British junior records and Under-23 records, and the clean and jerk and total were Commonwealth junior records.
He lifted the same total as the athlete who took third place, but was placed fourth on bodyweight.
“It was a tremendous performance from Darius. To put it into perspective it was 18 years ago that a British male last won a medal at a World Junior Championships,” said British Weight Lifting Performance Director Tommy Yule, referring to Leon Griffin, who still holds the British clean and jerk record in the 85kg class.
“To break the British senior record that has stood for over 10 years is a great achievement for a 19-year-old. I don't think he was happy after the snatch so to see him deal with pressure, put that disappointment to one side and perform like he did in the clean and jerk is a credit to him and demonstrates that he has the potential to continue to achieve his goals.”
“On the day the snatch warm up went great and the first lift felt like nothing,” explained Jokarzadeh. “But on my second attempt my arm hyperextended badly which resulted in the second and third snatch being lost.
“After the unexpected failures of the snatch I was overcome with anger and came close to pulling out with my elbow injury. But after the hours I put in for the competition, I had to go for a medal.
“The clean and jerk warm up was very sharp from not wanting to put too much pressure on my elbow, so after four lifts I was ready to go out. The first couple of attempts flew and I knew I had a big attempt in the making.
“I then had around five tense minutes of waiting before I knew what I needed to do for a medal. Stepping on to the platform I knew I had it in me to do it from the hundreds of hours of training, and to everyone's surprise I got the medal.
“It's great to know that I’m now competing with the top guys, but I know that I am nowhere near my potential and have a lot more to do and give before I can look back and say I did good.”
Earlier in the competition Bristol-based Sonny Webster recorded new personal bests in the snatch (139kg), clean and jerk (171kg) and total (310kg) to place 12th in the 94kg category.
And in the 62kg class, Jaswant Shergill finished 15th, having set a new personal best in the snatch of 105kg and followed up with a clean and jerk of 125kg.
The coaches who helped the athletes to success were BWL Head Coach Tamas Feher and Sam Hayer.