The 2017 IWF World Championships are set to begin in Anaheim tomorrow ©USA Weightlifting

The 2017 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships are set to begin here tomorrow as hosts the United States look to make their mark on the men’s medal standings for the first time in 20 years.

The home nation’s best chance of success is in the 69 kilograms category with teenager Clarence "CJ" Cummings, who has won four world titles at youth and junior level.

Although considered an ambitious target - given that the last American female medallist, Cheryl Haworth, was in 2005, eight years after the last male, Wes Barnett - USA Weightlifting is hoping for as many as seven podium finishes, four for women and three for men, between Thursday (November 30) and Sunday (December 3).

The wait for an American world champion is 48 years and counting for men and 23 years for women, and the last time the US won three World Championship medals was a quarter of a century ago.

"I am aware that things were not so good a few years ago, that we haven’t had winners for a very long time," Cummings said.

Mattie Rogers is also among the seven contenders who could give the US its best World Championships medal haul in decades.

Rogers, 22, a former cheerleader and gymnast, has improved since finishing second to Colombia’s Leidy Solis in the 69kg class at the Pan American Championships in Miami in July.

Joining Cummings as one of the highest-ranked American contenders is Sarah Robles, an Olympic bronze medallist at Rio 2016, in the women’s super heavyweight category.

Other American male prospects are 77kg lifter Harrison Maurus, another teenager who excels in the clean and jerk, and snatch specialist Colin Burns in the 94kg.

Jenny Arthur, in the women’s 75kg, is a leading contender, while the seventh home lifter with a chance is Caitlin Hogan in the 53kg.

Teenager Clarence
Teenager Clarence "CJ" Cummings is host nation's United States' best chance of success ©Getty Images

The World Championships will be televised live in the US and will be shown in more than 100 other countries despite the absence of most of the strongest weightlifting nations.

Nine nations, including China and Russia, are banned for multiple doping offences, while North Korea, which had the most top-ranked athletes across the weight categories, did not enter for political reasons.

Nearly half of all athletes ranked in the top 10 across all weight divisions will be absent from Anaheim, as will eight Olympic champions and 13 of the 15 winners at the 2015 World Championships.

One Olympic champion due to compete is Iran’s Kianoush Rostami, who has received his visa to travel to the US.

Rostami, the world record holder at 85kg, had originally been denied a visa but said from his home last week that he was successful with his second application.

Another name to look out for is transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand as she competes in the women's over 90kg division.

Her entry total is 280kg, the second highest in the division.

Last week, Hubbard was selected to compete for her country at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games after being named in their 12-strong weightlifting squad.

She will become the first transgender athlete to represent the country at the Games after securing qualification earlier this year.

Reigning Olympic champion Kianoush Rostami will lead Iran's charge for medals ©Getty Images
Reigning Olympic champion Kianoush Rostami will lead Iran's charge for medals ©Getty Images

More than half of the 377 weightlifters at the World Championships will be drug tested as the sport begins a new chapter in an attempt to retain its Olympic status.

The threat of being dropped by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) followed a series of doping scandals, most notably 24 positives at the 2015 World Championships and 49 positives in the retesting of samples from the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

Thomas Bach, the IOC President, warned weightlifting had a "massive doping problem".

On Saturday (November 25), the IWF Executive Board unanimously approved recommendations made by the Clean Sport and Sports Programme Commissions.

They will form the basis of the IWF’s submission to the IOC, due to hold its next Executive Board meeting in Lausanne on December 5 and 6.

The independent Clean Sport Commission has held a number of meetings this year and, following an extensive analysis of the anti-doping efforts in weightlifting over the last 10 years, presented what the IWF describes as its "innovative and pioneering" recommendations to the IWF Executive Board here.

The Commission determined that while significant improvements have been made in the IWF weightlifting programme since London 2012, there is scope to do a lot more work to combat doping.

Key recommendations of the Commission include contracting with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport and collaborating with the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations and World Anti-Doping Agency to develop increased and more effective no notice out-of-competition testing in high-risk countries

Among the others is the implementation of new rules in the IWF Anti-Doping Policy to send a clear deterrent message to countries that if they do not fulfil their anti-doping responsibilities to ensure that their athletes are clean, they will lose their right to participate in international competition for a period up to four years.