World Championships: Talha not satisfied despite making history

Weightlifter lifts 143kg in snatch to win bronze medal in Tashkent, but fails in clean and jerk attempts


Natasha Raheel December 11, 2021
PHOTO COURTESY: TALHATALIB

KARACHI:

“It was just not my day, but snatch was my good area,” Pakistan’s Olympian and top weightlifter Talha Talib simply states what the truth is, his performance at the World Championships in Tashkent is not how he wanted it to be, even though he won a bronze medal albeit a historical one too, as it is the first medal for Pakistan at the senior world championships.

“How does it feel like creating another history for Pakistan, even on your bad day?”

The answer proceeded with as much of an awkward silence as the question was asked with.

Talha has won numerous international medals for Pakistan and this was his first outing after his historic performance at the Olympics this year as he became the first Pakistani to end up at the top-five place, and the first one to actually compete at the Olympics for the country since 1976.

Talha had been in the gym and on the go with the events for the last two months, as he first won the Inter-unit Wapda Weightlifting Championship, then went on to compete for the Commonwealth Games trials. Next came the World Championships trials and then the National Championships in November where the Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWF) had been carrying the selection process too, according to Talha.

“Yes, this is the first time in the history that Pakistan won a medal at the senior World Championships, I’m grateful to Allah,” Talha told The Express Tribune.

His total in Tashkent this time was just 143kg, which was enough to get him a bronze medal in snatch but he was at the bottom of the overall rankings of his 67kg event.

“It is a part of the competition. Yes, it happens, I had no facilities and I am still training in that small school ground in Gujranwala,” said Talha after the competition.

“But I am grateful to the nation for their support, to the federation, Pakistan Olympic Association, and everyone who helped me.”

Talha added that he failed in his attempts in clean and jerk for no other reason than the way his body reacted. “I had good training, good diet, and I did not feel a lot of challenge in the competition either, I just think that my body did not respond the way I wanted it to, but the performance in snatch was fine,” explained Talha. “It was not much of a difficulty.”

No setback big enough

Looking forward to Commonwealth Games, Talha is optimistic. The World Championships in Tashkent were also touted as the qualifiers for the Commonwealth Games 2022, the top athletes from the event have qualified for Birmingham.

For Talha the chance will be at the Singapore Cup now.

“Now there is a qualifying round at Singapore Cup, then I will be able to compete in Birmingham, I will be training and working hard for that,” said Talha.

He is itching to repeat his Olympic total of 320kg which back in Tokyo was just two kilograms shy of the bronze medal. He had 150kg snatch and 170kg clean & jerk.

“I want to get on with the 150kg snatch and 170kg clean & jerk again, but I also want to improve on it. Hopefully, InshaAllah I will be totalling more soon,” concluded Talha.

In Talha’s event in Tashkent, host country’s Doston Yokubov took the gold medal overall with 324kg, Columbia’s Francisco Mosquera bagged silver with 316kg and Russia’s Zulfat Garaev won bronze.

Talha is a part of the Pakistan squad that has four other weightlifters, including Sharjeel Butt, Abu Bakar, Hanzala Dastageer and Nooh Dastageer.

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