New USA Junior Weightlifting Star: Chioma Amechi

The USA Weightlifting Junior National Weightlifting Championships gave a glimpse of what to expect in the sport, and as Sacramento High/Hassle Free Barbell Club’s Paul Doherty reports for IronMind®, the picture is looking good.

Chioma! Chioma! Chioma!

by Paul Doherty
Sacramento High School/Hassle Free Barbell Club

In a weekend that featured Team USA's best young lifters, it was a new face that stole the show.  [Last week] IronMind® reported [that] 17-year-old Chioma Amechi had recently hit 85 kg [in the snatch] and 115 kg [in the clean and jerk] in preparation for the USA Weightlifting Junior National Championships, as well as the Werksan National High School Weightlifting Team Challenge.  Well, she delivered in a performance that skyrocketed her to the top of Team USA's charts.

Amechi made a shaky 80 kg on her opening snatch, and then was turned down for press out on her 2nd attempt at 83, but drilled her 3rd attempt, 85 kg, to put her in second place behind defending national champion and 2009 Junior World Weightlifting Championships team member Karen Wyatt. 

Wyatt had a 6-kg lead plus bodyweight heading into the clean and jerk, but as MILO® readers have heard far too often, the one with the biggest clean and jerk usually trumps the competition. 

Both girls made routine openers with 109 kg and Amechi jumped straight to 116 kg for not only a personal record, but a lift that put the pressure on Wyatt.  Wyatt wasn't fazed, however, because after barely missing her second attempt, a 115-kg jerk out front, she came back for an easy success on her third.  Now, there was only Chioma. 

She crushed her second attempt of 116 kg which left the door open for the total gold medal.  As has been Hassle Free's motto, you can guess that she, "Put it on the bar!"  

After some dicey calculations in the back room, coach Kevin Doherty [Lincoln High, San Francisco] called for the 122 kg she needed for the whole banana.  As she stormed out to the platform, USA Director of High Performance Mike Gattone turned in disbelief to check Coach Doherty's sanity.  With the confidence Chioma displayed on stage, Doherty reassured all that this lift was about to steal the show.  And boy did it ever! 

Chioma unloaded on 122 kg and sent it soaring overhead for a huge success and the crowd erupted as she overtook Wyatt in a battle that will be remembered.  Chioma's 207-kg total was not only good enough for gold, but also a #1 overall ranking for boys or girls headed to Junior World Weightlifting Championships in 2010.  Wyatt should keep her head held high however as her 91-kg snatch was a personal record and a 5-for-6 day landed her #2 on the super elite co-ed list.  Rounding out the top 5 are medal hopefuls Caleb Ward and Donovan Ford, as well as super star Brianna Barnett.  Ward's 352 total in the +105-kg class at last year's American Open should land him in the medal contested A session, and Ford's personal record 185-kg clean and jerk today positions him for medals as well.  Seventeen-year-old Barnett, niece of American record holder and Olympian Wes Barnett, showcased her talent on Saturday in the women's 69-kg class, going 6-for-6 with personal record lifts of 79 kg in the snatch and 100 kg in the clean and jerk.

Stay tuned as these athletes continue to prepare for the Junior Worlds, and USAW should feel good about the crop of talent it's sending abroad this year. 

For a the full results of the USAW Junior Weightlifting Championships and more on the sport, please visit the USA Weightlifting website.

Captains of Crush® Hand Grippers

Captains of Crush grippers: the gold standard of grippers
The gold standard of grippers.

The fastest route to the strongest grip.

MILO®: Strength

Universal power broker

We deal in kilos and meters, pounds and feet.

Strong-Enough™ Lifting Straps

IronMind: Strong-Enough Lifting Straps: Most popular" at WSM. Proven daily by the world's strongest men.

Proven daily by the world's strongest men.

If you're not using IronMind lifting straps, you're not lifting as much as you could be.

Expand-Your-Hand Bands

Expand-Your-Hand Bands
Say goodbye to tennis elbow

Prevent, eliminate or reduce tennis elbow and associated pains. Simple, fun and effective.