WEIGHTLIFTING might not be one of Olympic’s famous sports, but it is arguably one of the hardest. Yet, that is the road many athletes, includuing Ghana’s youngest man in the snatch-clean-and-jerk field, Christian Amoah, has chosen.
Inside the Rio Centro Pavilion 2 this morning at 10.am local time, Amoah will be subjected to a true test of athletic excellence in the 85kg category, and he would demand a vast chunck of power, technique and determination to sail through.
Twenty-four athletes from 22 countries are contesting for medals in this event and Amoah is currently rated 13th out of the lot.
If he is able to lift his way out, the 17-year-old Ghanaian, who is also staging his debut appearance at the Olympics, will be rumbling into the medal stage taking place at 6.pm this evening.
But if he fails to glitter in the 11,500-square-metre venue, it would not serve as any embarrassment at all for the budding teenage star who last participated in the Nanjing Youth Olympic qualifier in Tunisia in 2014 and placed fifth in the 77kg category, having earlier taken part in the Africa Youth Games in Botswana in 2014 where he won bronze in the 77kg category.
Amoah represented Ghana in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland and also the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Championship in USA in 2015.
During last year’s All Africa Games in Congo, the athlete again finished 6th in the 85kg category and also placed fifth in the same category at the African Rio Olympic qualifier in Cameroun this year.
Amaoh is currently credited with three silver medals and is ranked 28th in the world in the 85kg category.
He qualified for the Olympics by virtue of a top-five national finish at the 2016 African Championships.
Weightlifting was part of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, with women joining in at Sydney 2000. There are eight men’s and eight women’s events.
The Soviet Union historically lead the all-time medal table with 62 total medals including 39 golds, although dominant China are steadily closing the gap. The United States, Bulgaria and France fill out the current top five, followed by Turkey, Germany, Greece, Poland and Iran.
In all, 295 athletes from 93 countries are vying in the sport’s 15 events at the Rio Olympics.
According to the rules of the competition, athletes get three attempts at both disciplines. Medals are eventually handed out across each weight class to the highest combined total achieved with the two most successful attempts.
From: John Vigah, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil