Weightlifter Ri Song Gum (49KG) Sets 221KG Total World Record at 2024 IWF World Cup

North Korean weightlifters may not be eligible for the 2024 Olympic Games, but that isn’t stopping the People’s Republic from rewriting the record books. On Apr. 1, 2024, during the Women’s 49-kilogram event at the 2024 IWF World Cup, Ri Song Gum did just that.

Gum, the world record holder in the clean & jerk, advanced her own Total world record from 220 to 221 kilograms (487.2 pounds) in the process of winning the event outright.

[Related: Why Can’t North Korea Compete in Weightlifting at the 2024 Olympics?]

The weightlifting Total is the combined value of an athlete’s best snatch and clean & jerk. Here’s a breakdown of Gum’s performance on the day:

Snatch: 97KG

Clean & Jerk: 124KG

Total: 221KG | World Record

Gum’s 97-kilogram snatch equaled that of Chinese athlete Hou Zhihui, who claimed the world record with that lift. That world record belongs to Zhihui because she hit it first during the event.

Gum also took a truly gutsy attempt at 126 kilograms in the clean & jerk to advance her own world record there, which currently stands at 125, but she was narrowly unsuccessful.

In Context

Since the People’s Republic of Korea (PRK) returned to the international weightlifting scene in 2023 (after a four-year hiatus), they’ve been on an absolute tear. With the exception of Zhihui’s 97-kilogram snatch, PRK women own every single world record in the 45, 49, and 55-kilogram divisions.

Gum’s 125-kilogram world record clean & jerk sits a full five kilograms above what any other woman has ever jerked in that category. It’s also five kilograms more than the Women’s 48-kilogram world record clean & jerk — a weight class that was founded in 1998 and existed until 2018.

PRK weightlifters may be ineligible for Paris 2024, but weightlifting was recently confirmed to be held at Los Angeles 2028. If Gum stays in the game until the next Olympics, she’s a safe bet for the podium.

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Featured Image courtesy of Weightlifting House

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