Olympic bronze medalist Sarah Robles will be the lone American competing Tuesday on the final day of the International Weightlifting Federation World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim.
Sarah Robles Was Raised In California
Robles, who was raised in Desert Hot Springs and graduated from San Jacinto High School in Riverside County, became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in weightlifting since 2000 when she won a bronze medal in the women’s over-75-kilogram class in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Robles, who now lives in Houston, won gold medals in the snatch, clean & jerk and total weight in the Pan American Championships in July.
Began Weightlifting In High School
Robles competes despite Madelung’s deformity, a congenital impairment of a forearm that causes her pain when she lifts or does everyday motions.
Robles began weightlifting at San Jacinto High School when her coach Rich McClure had her use the Olympic lifts to improve her performance in the shot put and discus throw. Robles competed in some local weightlifting meets in 2004 and 2005 “and I fell in love with it,” she said.
Expansion Of Weight Classes For Women
Robles received athletic scholarships from Alabama and Arizona State to compete in track and field, but changed those plans after her first season at Arizona State when she met weightlifting coach Joe Micela in 2008 and decided to abandon her throwing career to concentrate on weightlifting.
The expansion of weight classes for women to eight to create an equal amount to the men prompted the creation of the women’s over-90-kilogram class, which the 29-year-old Robles will compete in Tuesday.
Olympic Athletes Compete
The field of 11 includes two other lifters in the women’s over-75- kilogram class in the 2016 Olympics — Egyptian Shaimaa Ahmed Khalaf Haridy, who was fourth, eight kilograms behind Robles, and Maryam Usman of Nigeria, who was ninth.
The gold medalist in the class is from China, one of the nine nations banned from the championships as they serve one-year suspensions for doping violations in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
The other banned nations are Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Turkey, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Azerbaijan. Those nine nations combined for 27 of the 45 medals awarded at the 2015 world championships in Houston.
The world championships are held annually except in Olympic years.
Two Portions Of Competition
Weightlifting competitions consist of two portions, the snatch and the clean and jerk, with each athlete given three attempts in both.
In the snatch, the bar is lifted from the floor to arms length overhead in one motion.
In the clean & jerk the barbell is lifted overhead in two continuous motions — the clean, which brings the bar to the shoulders, and the jerk, in which the athlete raises the bar overhead.
The best total in each successful lift is combined for the overall total. Medals are awarded in the snatch, clean & jerk and total.