Qasim Hasan won Iraq's first World Championship gold in any sport at the Weightlifting World Championships in Riyadh ©IWF

Qasim Hasan enjoyed every moment when he won Iraq’s first World Championships gold medal in any sport.

It happened here at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships in Riyadh when Qasim made his third straight good lift in the men’s 96 kilograms, claiming snatch gold on 175kg and edging Karim Abokahla from Egypt into second place.

Qasim bowed, prayed, kissed the barbell and sat on the discs to savour his achievement. It was Iraq’s best weightlifting result since the 1960 Olympic Games, where Abdul-Wahid Aziz won a lightweight bronze medal to add to his 1959 World Championships bronze.

It was also his country’s first time on top of the podium in any Olympic sport at a World Championships - in only Qasim's second competition.

"I was so, so happy," said Qasim, 23. "The best result in the history of Iraq weightlifting - it makes me so proud."

Abokahla pulled clear of Qasim in the clean and jerk to win on total. The effort of making his final lift left Abokahla flat on his back in the warm-up room for a few minutes but it earned him victory on 174-213-387 and gave Africa its first winner at these Championships.

Won Jongbeom from South Korea was second on 172-212-384 with Qasim third on 175-204-279.

To complete a good session for Egypt, Mahmoud Hosny successfully made a jump of 8kg with his final attempt to win clean and jerk bronze.

Boady Santavy after his first total since December 2021 ©ITG
Boady Santavy after his first total since December 2021 ©ITG

Abokahla, 26, won African titles in his past two outings, posting totals of 340kg at 96kg last October and 375kg at 89kg in Tunis in May. Here he improved again to post the best total of his career in only his second competition at this weight.

Two men who finished fourth in the Olympic Games lifted in the B Group. Sarat Sumpradit, fourth at Rio 2016 in the old 94kg category, made his first snatch at 170kg then declined his remaining lifts because he is focusing on the Asian Games in China, where he will compete in the first week of October.

It was a different story for Boady Santavy from Canada, who left the platform shouting: "Come on! Boady’s back!"

Santavy, 1kg behind the bronze medallist in Tokyo at this weight, had not lifted in international competition since December 2021 because of a serious elbow injury that required "having my UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) completely reattached".

He had been talking himself up on social media and was challenged to live up to the talk by Pyrros Dimas, with whom he is friendly.

"Where’s Pyrros?" Santavy wanted to know after his five-from-six 166-196-362. The triple Olympic champion, who is performance director for the United States, appeared in the warm-up room to congratulate Santavy.

"It was pretty depressing being away so long, but I’ve trained really well since the doctor cleared me around March," said Santavy. "There are some big numbers coming in Qatar."

That will be in December at the IWF Grand Prix II, the next Olympic qualifier. Santavy, who weighed in below 93kg, will lift at 89kg there.

Yeison Lopez Lopez from Colombia was lightest of the 12 in the B Group at 90.62kg but made the best total by 9kg, posting 171-200-371. He will also go down to 89kg, starting at the Pan American Games in October.