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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 08:34 GMT
Beginner's guide to weightlifting
Qatar's Jaber S Salem in action
Arms must be locked at the top of the lift to be deemed successful

The weightlifting event changed significantly at Sydney with new weight divisions, but the principle remained the same: Lift more than anyone else.

However, the event, which opened to women for the first time in 2000, is more than just a simple contest of strength.

Lifters need to ally technique and concentration to their basic power in order to have any hope of coming out on top.

There are two types of lift; the snatch and the clean and jerk.

In the snatch, the more difficult discipline, the bar must be lifted from the floor with a wide grip and over the lifter's head in one motion.

DID YOU KNOW?
The speed of execution in the snatch can result in lifters dislocating their elbows
The legs may be bent or split when lifting the bar but must come together to ensure the lift is declared valid.

In the clean and jerk, which requires a narrow grip, the lifter pulls the bar to his shoulders in one movement, drops into a squat, and then stands straight up.

The next part of the lift involves jerking the bar to arms-length above the head and splitting the legs to achieve the lift. Once the arms are locked and the bar is steady the lifters bring their feet back together to ensure the lift is declared good.

Lifters are given three lifts in each discipline and once they reach the platform they have one minute to complete the lift. With each effort, weights must increase by 2.5kg.

WEIGHT CATEGORIES
Men
56kg; 62kg; 69kg; 77kg; 85kg; 94kg; 105kg; over 105kg
Women
48kg; 53kg; 58kg; 63kg; 69kg; 75kg; over 75kg
The heaviest successful lift in each category contributes towards the total score, so if an athlete lifts 90 kg in the snatch and 130kg in the clean and jerk their overall score is 220kg.

If two lifters finish the competition with the same total then the one with the lower body weight is declared the winner.

The weight of an athlete's first lift determines their place in the starting order. If they choose to go for a light weight they will go earlier in the order.

Three referees judge weightlifting where a majority verdict is accepted as official.

They signal a good lift by flashing a white light, and an illegal one by flashing red although a jury has the authority to overturn their decision.





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