Robles breaks records to close out 2018 World Championships for Team USA

Nov. 10, 2018, 10:50 a.m. (ET)

Saturday Nov. 10, 2018 Ashgabat, Turkmenistan – Team USA’s super heavy weights ended the 2018 IWF World Championships on a high note Saturday in Turkmenistan. Keiser Witte took the platform first, in the +109 C session. Witte hit 160kg on his opening snatch attempt, then moved up to 166kg. He missed on his second attempt but came back to make it on his last attempt.

“Being on the world stage is definitely new,” Witte said reflecting on his performance. “I’m glad I put together two good lifts. No personal records but it’s only my fourth meet so I’m happy with it.”

Witte’s background is in swimming, and he only began training the Olympic lifts at the student gym at Arizona State University about two years ago, aiming to qualify for the national champions. In May 2018, Witte became the National Champion in the +105 bodyweight category.

“A lot of good opportunities have been handed to me and I’m really excited to be able to take advantage of them and continue to grow in the sport,” Witte said.

In the clean and jerk portion of the competition, Witte hit 200kg and 211kg before missing 220kg on his third attempt. He totaled 377kg.

“At nationals, my best clean and jerk was 202, then I did 216 (at AO3),” he said. “We just wanted to make sure I totaled. 200kg felt really good and 211kg felt kind of heavy in the clean, but I was glad I was able to keep up my technique in the jerk.” He missed the clean on his third attempt of 220kg.

Keiser says his next competition will be in February, where he aims to qualify for more international teams in 2019.

Team USA veteran Caine Wilkes competed next in the +109kg B session, hitting 175kg and 180kg snatches. He missed 185kg on his third attempt.

“I had a game plan of opening with 175kg,” Wilkes said after his session. “180kg was a little awkward coming up out of it.”

Wilkes made his opening and second clean and jerk attempts of 212 and 220kg, missing 225kg on his third attempt. “I just made some technical errors on the pull and it cost me some good lifts,” said of both his third attempt misses. “It felt strong though, and that’s a first 400kg total at a World Championships for me.”

Wilkes swept the silver medals at the Pan American Championships earlier this year, hitting a 183kg snatch, 219kg clean and jerk for a 402kg total.

2017 +90kg World Champion Sarah Robles ended the 2018 World Championships for Team USA with a six for six performance in the +87kg A session and taking fifth place overall. She snatched 120kg, 125kg and 128kg, tying Cheryl Haworth’s American Record for the lift.

“I had all personal records, made all my lifts, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Robles said after the competition.

Her 154kg, 159kg and 162kg clean and jerk performance tied her own American Record in the lift, set at American Open Series 3 in September. It improved her total to 290kg, breaking Cheryl Haworth’s previous total record of 287kg.

“We’re glad it’s in the books for now,” said Team Houston Coach Tim Swords. “We’ll work on some improvements for Pan Ams when we get home.”

A heated battle to end the session between Olympic medalists Tatiana Kashirina of Russia and China’s Meng Suping. After passing the world records back and forth, it was Kashirina who took home all three records and gold medals with a 145kg snatch, 185kg clean and jerk and a 330kg total.

Multiple world records were set in the +109kg A session to end the 2018 IWF World Championships. Iran’s Ali Davoudi set the junior world record snatch at 197kg, landing in 7th place in the lift. Georgia’s Lasha Talakhadze broke the senior world record twice, first on his second attempt of 212kg, and again on his third attempt at 217kg where it will stay. He also set the world records in clean and jerk and total at 257kg and 474kg to sweep the gold medals in the category.