World`s +105 kg weightlifting champion, Hossein Rezazadeh, was invited to take part in a grand prix in the US state of California, IRNA reported from Tehran.
President of Iran`s Weightlifting Federation, Ali Moradi, and the IWF secretary general Darab Riahi are also among the invitees.
The action film hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was recently elected as the new California governor is to sponsor the meet, Arnold Expo, under the supervision of the International Weightlifting Federation.
According to IRNA reporter, the US officials offered their invitation to Moradi in Vancouver, southwest of Canada, where the 73rd World Weightlifting Championships were held from Nov 14-22. The organizing committee of Arnold Expo is to officially invite the Iranian trio.
Winning four golds and one bronze (117 points), Iran followed champion China, Turkey, Russia, and Romania which ranked first to fourth with 172, 164, 153, and 119 points respectively. With two golds and one bronze, Rezazadeh lifted 457.5 kg and +105 kg title.
The 24-year-old Rezazadeh failed to improve his own snatch record, 213 kg, in his third effort for 213.5 kg and bagged bronze with 207.5 kg.
He retained the clean and jerk title, hoisting 250 kg in his first move. The lifter of Ardebil, northwest of Iran, did not succeed in handling 263.5 kg -- 0.5 kg above his own record -- in his second effort.
Rezazadeh burst spectacularly onto the international scene at the 2000 Sydney Olympics with a superhuman lift to defeat two legends of the sport on the way to gold and the title of the `world`s strongest man.`
He took Olympic gold with a world record total of 472.5 kg (212.5 kg in the snatch and 260 kg in the clean and jerk).
His 260 kg lift was one of the heaviest in weightlifting history and proved too much for 1992 gold medalist Weller and 1996 winner Chemerkin who settled for silver and bronze respectively.
Rezazadeh won three gold medals in +105 kg category of the 72nd World Weightlifting Championships in Warsaw, Poland, as he totally lifted 472.5 kg. He set a new world record in clean and jerk by 0.5 kg as he lifted 263 kilograms.
On Jan 9, President Mohammad Khatami granted a `badge of courage` to the lifter.
During a ceremony held in the presence of several ministers and other state officials at Hafezieh Cultural Complex, Khatami presented medals to 16 athletes of the land, including world-class weightlifter Hossein Rezazadeh, freestyle wrestler Alireza Dabir, and taekwondo champion Hadi Saei as a sign of acknowledging their efforts in sportsmanship.
Rezazadeh was voted as `Champion of Champions` of Iran in the year 2002.
Association of Sports Writers, Reporters, and Photographers released the names of the best sportsmen of the country in 2002. To name the top athletes, the association collected the votes of 350 sports writers of 32 sports periodicals.
Rezazadeh set a new world +105 kg snatch record at the 35th Asian Weightlifting Championships, which ended in China on September 14. Iran stood top among 13 participating countries with 599 points and the host China and Indonesia finished runner-up and third with 514 and 493 points respectively.
Kazakhstan, Thailand, and North Korea stood fourth to sixth. Rezazadeh improved the world`s +105 kg record by 0.5 kg as he lifted 213 kg in snatch.
In his first clean-and-jerk effort, Rezazadeh kept 250 kg above his head, winning three gold medals for snatch, clean and jerk, and total categories.
Copyright (c) 2003. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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