The naturalised Lesman Paredes, third left, won Bahrain's first major weightlifting title today ©Brian Oliver

It was celebration time in Manama today when Lesman Paredes secured his fifth straight victory and gave Bahrain its first major success in weightlifting by winning the Asian 96 kilograms title.

He did it in style with a career-best clean and jerk and a total of 397kg, only 3kg short of his winning total at the 2021 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships - despite declining his third snatch when another world record might have been achievable.

The Olympic 96kg champion Meso Hassona won the day’s other contest, moving up to the Paris 2024 weight category of 102kg to claim victory for Qatar.

Meso failed with two of his snatches and declined to take his final two clean and jerks, but two lifts were enough for him to finish well clear on 171-215-386.

Within the space of three months Bahrain has made its mark in the sport on and off the platform.

It has made a huge success of hosting the Asian Championships for the first time and now it has its first champion, with another likely to join the party tomorrow when Gor Minasyan lifts in the final event, the men's super-heavyweights.

Paredes and Minasyan both switched nationality in July, from Colombia and Armenia respectively, and Paredes made an impressive start.

He trained mostly in Colombia in preparation, coming to Bahrain for a pre-tournament training camp with his coach Leddy Andrea Zuluaga.

She is the mother of Manuela Berrio, one of Colombia's best young lifters, and will be coaching athletes from two nations when Colombia hosts the IWF World Championships in December.

Paredes, the snatch world record-holder, was the only athlete in a field of eight who did not fail with any of his attempts.

He made 178-182 in the snatch but instead of going up another 6kg to try to better his own record he declined, then came out to make all three clean and jerks, bettering his previous best on 215kg.

His 397kg total put Paredes 24kg clear of Chen Po-Jen of Chinese Taipei, who also made all his clean and jerks and held on to second place when Kazakhstan's Artyom Antropov failed with his final attempt.

Olympic 96kg champion Meso Hassona, centre, was victorious up at 102kg ©Brian Oliver
Olympic 96kg champion Meso Hassona, centre, was victorious up at 102kg ©Brian Oliver

That was a good effort by Chen, who made five from six, given that he had bombed out three times in his previous five competitions.

Chen made 177-206-383, while Antropov made up ground to take bronze on 158-219-377, edging his team-mate Nurgissa Adiletuly down to fourth place.

Iran's Reza Dehdar took the 102kg silver despite making only two good lifts, finishing 170-202-372.

Third place went to the junior world champion Sharofiddin Amriddinov of Uzbekistan on 172-196-368.

The Asian Weightlifting Championships finish tomorrow with three medal events - men’s 109kg and over-109kg, and women’s over-87kg.