Colin Burns won the first US gold of their home Championships ©USA Weightlifting

Colin Burns, a 33-year-old sporting all-rounder, won the United States' first gold medal of their home 2017 Pan American Weightlifting Championships here and is now targeting the podium at the World Championships in Anaheim, California in November.

"It's in my sights, I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about it," said Burns after winning the men's 94 kilograms class with a total of 366kg, better than the second-placed Brazilian Marco Machado by 5kg.

"It's been a perfect storm this year and I want to take advantage of that."

Burns represented his nation in judo, played college football, was a state level wrestler and swimmer, did karate from the age of four and played baseball before he made a late start in weightlifting.

In all those sports Burns, who also won the snatch gold and clean and jerk silver, had never heard the national anthem played for him but he did at the Miccosukee Resort.

When he watched the 2009 Pan American Championships in Chicago, Burns was immediately hooked.

"It was the environment, the competition, the precision - it was different to everything I'd done," he said.

"This is the only sport where it's just you.

"What I like about it is the constant refinement of movements, the precision, there's always something to fix.

"There's no end point - you can always get better."

Burns first represented his nation at the 2013 Pan American Championships, finishing eighth in the 85kg with a total 46kg lower than his winning effort here in Miami.

He will be 34 in September but has no plans to retire yet.

"I'm going to just play it by ear," he said.

Ecuador's Neisi Dajomes won three gold medals  ©Getty Images
Ecuador's Neisi Dajomes won three gold medals ©Getty Images

"I realise that at some point things are going to start falling off but for now I'm going to just keep going."

Burns is an athletes' representative on the Board of USA Weightlifting, coaches himself and lives with 53kg national team lifter Cortney Batchelor and their pet pig, Layla.

The bronze medal was won by the Cuban Victor Quinones, who was also third in the snatch behind Burns and Machado.

In the clean and jerk Jeyson Arias of Venezuela took gold, in front of Burns and Machado, who could have won had he made his last lift but found the 6kg increase too much.

Cuba's team celebrated their first gold of the Championships loudly when Yoelmis Hernandez won the men's 85kg with his last lift, beating Colombia's Jhor Moreno into second place.

It was a sixth Pan American title for Hernandez, who at 31 is 10 years older than Moreno and 14 years older than the Venezuelan teenager Keidomar Vallenilla, who set a junior clean and jerk record on his way to third place.

The 1-2-3 was the same in clean and jerk, while the snatch gold went to Moreno, silver to his team-mate Jhonatan Rivas and bronze to Hernandez, with Vallenilla fourth.

Another junior record-breaker was Ecuador’s Neisi Dajomes, 19, who swept all three golds in the women's 75kg and bettered the snatch record with 110kg.

Dajomes, a world champion at youth and junior level, made five good lifts for a 241kg total while the Brazilian Monique Lima, second in the snatch, failed with all three clean and jerk attempts.

Aremi Fuentes of Mexico was third in snatch and overall, while the clean and jerk silver went to Canada's Marie Beauchemin and bronze to Venezuela's Dayana Chirinos, who was second on total, 11kg behind Dajomes.

The US have high hopes of more gold from Sarah Robles, the 2016 Olympic over-75kg bronze medallist, when the Championships finish with four medal events tomorrow.