2024 IWF World Cup Preview + How To Watch

A few short months remain before the Olympic torch is lit in Paris, France, this August. For weightlifters wishing to realize their Olympic dreams, the hour is late. There’s only one major qualification event left — the 2024 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Cup.

This year’s Cup, which takes place from Mar. 31 to Apr. 11 in Phuket, Thailand, is the second of two compulsory events for all Olympic hopefuls. For many of the world’s best weightlifting athletes, it’s also the last chance to lift well enough to secure a ticket to Paris.

Courtesy of Weightlifting House

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“[The Cup] is the culmination of the last 18 months of Olympic qualification,” says Seb Ostrowicz, owner of Weightlifting House, the primary broadcasting platform for this year’s World Cup. “All questions about who’s going to the Olympics will finally be answered.” 

In short: You won’t want to miss this one. Here’s what you need to know about the athletes and scheduling at the 2024 IWF World Cup.

How To Watch the 2024 IWF World Cup

Want to watch all the action in Thailand in real time? You need to know when, and where, to find the sessions. Here are the details.

Live Stream

House is the primary distribution platform for this year’s Cup, made available via subscription on Weightlifting House TV, which you can find here. Monthly access starts at $9.99. Group A events will feature real-time expert commentary from Ostrowicz and Max Aita, including athlete bios, stats, and trivia.

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“We’re aiming at being the Netflix of weightlifting,” says Ostrowicz. Other House TV features include video-on-demand recordings of all prior sessions (including B and C-groups), a moderated live chat module.

The House team is also working on rolling out a ranking leaderboard that shows which athletes overtake each other for the coveted world top-10 slots — weightlifters who want to receive a bid to Paris must be in the top 10 in the world in their weight class. 

Session Schedule

Below you can find the schedule for all “A” Group sessions at the 2024 IWF World Cup in Phuket, Thailand. Note that all times are listed in Eastern Standard Time (EST) and that listed times are subject to change prior to the commencement of the event. 

Sunday, March 31

W45: 2:00 p.m.

Monday, April 1

W49: 11:30 a.m.

M55: 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 2

M61: 11:30 a.m.

W55: 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 3

W59: 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 4

M67: 11:30 a.m.

M73: 2:00 p.m.

Friday, April 5

W64: 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 6

M81: 11:30 a.m.

M89: 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 7

M96: 11:30 a.m.

W71: 2:00 p.m.

Monday, April 8

W76: 11:30 a.m.

M102: 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 9 

W81: 11:30 a.m.

W87: 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 10

W+87: 11:30 a.m.

M109: 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 11

M+109: 11:30 a.m.

Athletes To Watch at the 2024 IWF World Cup

For any Paris hopeful who currently sits outside the top 10 in their weight class, the competition in Phuket is do-or-die. “The further down the [ranking list] you go, the deeper you get into the ‘danger zone,’” says Ostrowicz. At the Cup, he says, you’re likely to see athletes in one of two situations: Those who are trying to prove to their country’s federation that they’re worth one of the three athlete slots, and those who are trying to make it into the top 10 in the first place. 

The further down the list you go, the deeper you get into the danger zone…

Ostrowicz notes that he is particularly excited to see the fates of the following athletes unfold in Thailand: 

Rizki Juniansyah (M73, INA): Juniansyah will make a last-ditch effort to surpass teammate (and number-one 73 in the world) Rahmat Erwin Abdullah just a few months after undergoing back surgery. 

Li Wenwen (W+87, CHN): “After her elbow injury at the 2023 World Championships, I’m excited to see whether she earns an Olympic spot,” Ostrowicz says. Wenwen was once a guaranteed pick for China, but the odds may have shifted out of her favor. 

Karlos Nasar (M89, BUL): The clean & jerk world record holder will face off against China’s two 89s, Tian Tao and Li Dayin, for the first time. 

Kate Vibert (W81, USA): “After moving up two categories to the 81s, her training has looked very strong,” Ostrowicz says, citing a recent 160-kilogram split jerk that Vibert hit in training. 

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You should also be on the lookout for these athletes, who must either perform better than they ever have in the past, or who are confirming to the world that they’re ready to throw down on the Olympic platform: 

Lasha Talakhadze (+109KG)

Georgia’s two-time Olympic Champion — and the undisputed strongest weightlifter in history — Lasha Talakhadze has already qualified for Paris. However, Talakhadze’s prowess has come under scrutiny after he suffered a leg injury shortly before the 2022 European Championships. 

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Since then, Talakhadze hasn’t been able to match or exceed any of his previous best lifts. While he’s still the presumptive winner of the super-heavyweight event in Paris, his lead in the Total against athletes like Gor Minasyan and Varazdat Lalayan is shrinking. 

Shi Zhiyong (73KG)

Prior to the 2023 IWF Grand Prix II in Dec. of last year, China’s Shi Zhiyong had never been defeated in an international weightlifting competition. After his commanding victory in the Tokyo Olympics, Zhiyong took a long hiatus from competition to nurse an ongoing back injury. 

He returned to the IWF stage last winter, but his 340-kilogram debut Total left him in a precarious seventh place in the 73-kilogram class. If Zhiyong wants to snag one of China’s three male athlete slots (and have a chance at his third Olympic gold medal), he’ll need to dig deep in Thailand. 

Loredana Toma (71KG)

Romania’s Loredana Toma is safely going to Paris. However, the former snatch world record holder’s chances of making it to the Olympic podium are more dubious. She’s yet to beat her 256KG Total from Worlds in 2022, the performance that landed her in 4th place in the world for the time being.

However, at her most recent competition (the 2024 European Championships in Feb.), Toma only managed a 241KG result. It was good enough for gold at that event, but were she ranked by that number and not her best from 2022, she’d drop down to 10th. 

In short: Toma needs to show that she’s back in fighting shape in Phuket. Otherwise, her chances of winning a medal in Paris are slim. 

Chen Lijun (61KG)

For most of this qualification cycle, one of China’s three male athlete slots was all but confirmed for 61-kilogram Olympic Champion Li Fabin. But Chen Lijun, an Olympic Champion (2020, 67KG) and five-time World Champion, is making a last-minute bid for Fabin’s ticket. 

Lijun’s last appearance in the 61s was the 2023 Asian Championships, where he Totaled 310KG. That result had him in 2nd place in the world, behind Fabin, in 2023. But if Lijun wants the 61-kilogram slot, he’ll need to beat Fabin’s best of 314, and do so convincingly. 

Team USA | 2024 IWF World Cup

After several grueling years, the Paris Olympics are finally in view. That doesn’t mean the race is over for the American athletes. “I think the women don’t have much to fear at this point, but for the men, the stakes couldn’t be higher,” says Jessie Johnson, weightlifting photographer and documentarian. 

Johnson refers to the trio of presumptive nominees on the women’s side: Jourdan Delacruz, Olivia Reeves, and Mary Theisen-Lappen, all of whom rank comfortably in the top 10 of their respective weight classes. On the men’s side of things, it’s still anyone’s game. 

Here is Team USA’s weightlifting roster for the 2024 IWF World Cup: 

Olivia Reeves (71KG)

Jourdan Delacruz (55KG)

Kate Vibert (81KG)

Mary Theisen-Lappen (+87KG)

Estelle Rohr (76KG)

Taylor Wilkins (59KG)

Mattie Rogers* (81KG)

Meredith Alwine (71KG)

Shayla Moore (59KG)

Isabella Rodriguez (55KG)

Hampton Morris (61KG)

Wes Kitts (102KG)

Nathan Damron (89KG)

Caden Cahoy (73KG)

CJ Cummings (89KG)

Caine Wilkes (+109KG)

Alejandro Medina (+109KG)

Ryan Grimsland (73KG)

Editor’s Note: Rogers recently announced her withdrawal from the Paris qualification process, but will attend the World Cup to weigh in.

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Editor’s Note: BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting. The two organizations maintain editorial independence unless otherwise specified. 

Featured Image courtesy of Weightlifting House

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