Jiang Huihua, centre, won gold for China in the women's 49kg ©ITG

Jiang Huihua gave China a winning start on day two of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships in Bogotá, Colombia, the first qualifying event for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Jiang went for a world record on her final attempt in the women's 49 kilograms, which would have been a fitting finale to a hugely entertaining session.

She failed on 120kg, however, and that clean and jerk record remained with India's Mirabai Chanu, who was Jiang's closest challenger.

There was drama of a different sort to come in the men's 55kg, in which there were twice as many no-lifts as good lifts, three bomb-outs, six different medallists including a Colombian from the B Group, and a junior world record for 19-year-old Theerapong Silachai, who gave Thailand its second victory in two days.

Chanu provided the highlight of the evening with a remarkable "save" from a near impossible position on her third snatch attempt.

She appeared to have lost her balance and the bar, and seemed sure to hit the platform on her knees, only to somehow keep her footing and make the lift.

The crowd cheered and even some of the technical officials joined in the applause.

In a high-quality session, two Olympic champions were beaten, two 20-year-old Europeans were in record-breaking form, and the United States and Romania both had medallists.

Theerapong Silachai of Thailand set a junior world record of 148kg in the clean and jerk ©ITG
Theerapong Silachai of Thailand set a junior world record of 148kg in the clean and jerk ©ITG

Jiang made 93-113-206, Chanu 87-113-200 and the Tokyo Olympic champion Hou Zhihui was third on 89-109-198.

Hou, whose four-year head-to-head series against Jiang now stands at 3-3, declined to take her final lift.

The other beaten Olympic gold medallist was Sanikun (formerly Sopita) Tanasan, the Rio 2016 winner, who bombed out in the clean and jerk.

Windy Cantika, a bronze medallist behind Hou and Chanu in Tokyo last year, injured her lower back in September and opted to lift in the B Group, where she made only two lifts to finish in 15th place on 174kg - and she injured herself on her final attempt.

The United States pair Hayley Reichardt and Jourdan Delacruz finished fifth and seventh on 84-110-194 and 86-105-191.

Reichardt's final lift earned her bronze in the clean and jerk, in which there were as many no-lifts as good lifts, 16 from 32 attempts.

Nina Sterckx, from Belgium, would have claimed the European snatch record with her 89kg third attempt, but Romania’s Mihaela Cambei came out and made 90kg to take that record and the silver medal.

Cambei, from Onesti, the home town of the great gymnast Nadia Comaneci, was fourth on total on 90-104-194.

Sterckx failed with her last two attempts but her 89-104-193 earned fifth place, the highest ever World Championships finish by a Belgian female and the best, male or female, since Serge Reding back in the 1960s.

She won the junior world title at 55kg in May and, having weighed as much as 58kg earlier in the year, she had to lose 15 per cent of her body weight to compete in the lightest Olympic category.

"You have to eat hardly anything - you don’t want to know what I ate to get my weight down," she said before heading off for a well deserved meal.

If the 50-50 ratio of no-lift to good lift seemed high in the women’s clean and jerk session, it was even higher in a brutal men’s 55kg, which featured two no-lifts to every good lift.

Two of the eight athletes bombed out in the snatch, and the snatch gold medallist, Asian champion Lai Gia Thanh from Vietnam, failed with all his clean and jerks.

Last year's world champion Arli Chontey, from Kazakhstan, was the only man to make two good snatches, which gave him the silver medal, but he finished fourth on total with only one successful clean and jerk.

The snatch bronze medallist Ngo Son Dinh from Vietnam was second on total with 117-143-260, ahead of the Korean Kim Yongho in third place on 115-145-260.

Silachai, remarkably, made all three clean and jerks while his rivals managed only four between them, and finished 117-148-265.

His 148kg took the clean and jerk junior world record from one of his rivals on the day, Angel Rusev of Bulgaria, who also had a night to forget and finished sixth on total.

Colombia’s Miguel Suarez was a clean and jerk bronze medallist from the B Group and his 105-143-248 left him fifth on total.

China, which did not have an athlete on day one, has another strong chance of gold on Wednesday when Li Fabin competes in the men's 61kg.