Kuo Hsing-Chun, a multiple world record holder, is entered in the C Group at the IWF World Championships ©Getty Images

Three world record holders and an Olympic champion are among 27 athletes who have declared their intent to weigh in without lifting at the International Weightlifting Federation World Championships, which begin in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on September 4.

Two other Olympic champions who have had fitness problems, multiple world record holders Shi Zhiyong from China and Kuo Hsing-Chun from Chinese Taipei, are entered in C Groups.

Shi, in the non-Olympic 81 kilograms category, and Kuo, in the women’s 59kg, will not even lift on the same day as the top-rated medal contenders.

Mirabai Chanu from India, Lesman Paredes from Bahrain and Karlos Nasar from Bulgaria are the three world record holders who ticked the option to weigh in without lifting, which was used for the first time at the final verification stage for Riyadh after a slew of late withdrawals at earlier Olympic qualifying competitions.

Tokyo 64kg champion Maude Charron from Canada has also taken the weigh-in-only option, as have the 71kg world and European champion Loredana Toma from Romania, and other European champions Angel Rusev from Bulgaria and Marie Fegue from France.

If they need a big performance to make the all-important top 10 in the rankings they can wait for better form and fitness at future qualifying competitions - the IWF Grand Prix in Qatar in December, next year’s continental championships in February, and the IWF World Cup in Pattaya in Thailand which brings qualifying to a close next April.

The World Championships, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, is one of two mandatory events for all Olympic hopefuls, who must "participate" by weighing in and presenting themselves for anti-doping tests regardless of whether they lift.

The IWF World Cup is the other mandatory event.

China's Shi Zhiyong is entered in the non-Olympic 81kg category at next month's IWF World Championships ©Getty Images
China's Shi Zhiyong is entered in the non-Olympic 81kg category at next month's IWF World Championships ©Getty Images

Nine of the athletes who lead the rankings in the 10 Paris 2024 weight categories will compete in Riyadh, the only exception being Nurgissa Adiletuly, who is one of nine Kazakhstan lifters provisionally suspended for doping.

Kazakhstan faces an outright ban from Paris and beyond because of doping, and although it has entered 12 athletes in Riyadh not one of them lifts in an Olympic weight class A Group.

When Adiletuly is removed from the 102kg rankings the leader will be Jin Yunseong from South Korea, who is in the B Group.

The A Group features five men who have posted an entry total of 400kg or more, which nobody apart from Adiletuly has managed so far. 

Among the five are Olympic 96kg champion Meso Hassona from Qatar, who has not lifted since the 2022 IWF World Championships last December, and two Armenians, Samvel Gasparyan and the teenager Garik Karapetyan.

China has entered 18 athletes, including all five leaders of the women’s Olympic categories - Jiang Huihua, Luo Shifang, Liao Guifang, Liang Xiaomei and Li Wenwen.

Lasha Talakhadze, going for a sixth straight world title, heads an elite field in the closing super-heavyweight session on September 17, in which all eight athletes have an entry total of 440kg or more.

The preliminary entry total of 894 athletes dropped to 719 from 117 nations at the final verification, which took place earlier than usual to avoid late withdrawals and help broadcasters with their planning.