Sara Samir from Egypt and Meso Hassona of Qatar won medals today ©ITG

Both winners on day nine of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships were Olympic medallists from the Arab world - Sara Samir from Egypt at 76 kilograms and Meso Hassona from Qatar at 102kg.

"It’s a good omen, now we want Morocco to win as well," said Meso, who lifts for the FIFA World Cup host nation, where Morocco play France in the semi-finals tomorrow.

"I’ve been following the World Cup on TV and I’ve got my VVIP ticket sorted for the final on Sunday.

"I’m hoping it will be Morocco but if France beat them I’ll be cheering for Argentina in the final."

Samir, though, will not be cheering for anybody.

"I don’t like football," she said.

It was a first victory at the World Championships for both athletes, who have made the podium before but never won gold.

Samir, a hugely popular sportswoman in Egypt and beyond after becoming the first woman from an Arab nation to win an Olympic weightlifting medal in 2016, when she was third at 69kg, wants the big one in 2024.

"I was very pleased with my performance today - now I want the gold medal in Paris," she said.

Mattie Rogers from the United States and Kim Suhyeon from South Korea won medals in the 76kg class ©ITG
Mattie Rogers from the United States and Kim Suhyeon from South Korea won medals in the 76kg class ©ITG

After sitting out a two-year suspension for taking a banned supplement at the 2019 African Games in Morocco - along with five team-mates - and a further delay because of COVID-19 restrictions, Samir returned to action by winning the African title in October at 81kg.

She dropped weight to win the 76kg category here on 113-148-261, the same total that won her the African title at the higher weight.

Now she will go back up to 81kg for her next competition, which is expected to be the African Championships in Tunis in May.

All three medallists, Samir, Mattie Rogers from the United States and Kim Suhyeon from South Korea enjoyed themselves and it showed in a lively medal ceremony.

"We all had fun today, and we’re a happy group here… especially her," said Rogers, pointing to Kim, who had been in tears after her medal-winning final lift before beaming as she left the platform.

Kim had failed to make a total at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year but this time she made four from six for 108-137-245.

Rogers had a sweep of silvers on 109-138-247, and the snatch bronze went to Bella Paredes of Ecuador, with Kim fourth.

There were six medallists in the men's 102kg, in which Artyom Antropov of Kazakhstan almost pulled off a remarkable feat.

Antropov, 22, was 15th in the snatch but came within one missed lift of a medal on total.

His 163kg would not have made the top four in the B Group, and his first clean and jerk was 54kg higher at 217kg.

He made that, followed up with 222kg - enough to win clean and jerk gold - and just failed at 227kg.

Antropov was sixth on total, only 6kg behind Meso, who declined his last two attempts as he had already won.

The top six on total were separated by only 6kg, but in the snatch there was only 3kg between first place and sixth.

The snatch medals went to Reza Dehdar of Iran on 177kg, Marcos Ruiz of Spain on 176kg and the Armenian Samvel Gasparyan on 175kg.

In clean and jerk Antropov took gold, Meso silver on 217kg with his only lift and Bekdoolot Rasulbekov of Kyrgyzstan won bronze also on 217kg.

On total it was Meso on 174-217-391, Dehdar second on 177-213-390 and Gasparyan third on 175-214-389.