Solfrid Koanda of Norway suffered a shock when she bombed out of the women’s 87 kilograms ©IWF

Norway's strongest electrician suffered a shock when she bombed out of the women’s 87 kilograms at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships.

Solfrid Koanda, who gave up her job to become a full-time weightlifter last year, came into the contest as defending champion and was one of the strongest favourites in any weight category in Riyadh after four straight wins.

Koanda had prepared well but failed three times to make a snatch of 115kg, a number she had made when winning the European title in the lighter 81kg Olympic category in April, and again at this weight in the IWF Grand Prix in Cuba in June.

After the first bombout of her international career, Koanda came out to make a personal best 156kg in clean and jerk to win by a huge margin. She made all three lifts.

"I have had the wind behind me for a year but this time no," Koanda said. 

"These things can happen in sport, and better here than in Paris.

"I am still happy - I trained well, had a good preparation, and I will learn from this."

The winner on total was Lo Ying-yuan from Chinese Taipei on 112-133-245, which was 15kg lower than Koanda’s winning total last year.

The Colombian Yeinny Geles was second on 106-138-244. 

There were cries of despair from third-placed Jung Aram from South Korea, who failed with a final attempt that would have put her on top of podium. Jung made 107-134-241.

Lo Ying-yuan from Chinese Taipei won the women's 87kg gold on 112-133-245 ©IWF
Lo Ying-yuan from Chinese Taipei won the women's 87kg gold on 112-133-245 ©IWF

Anastasiia Manievska from Ukraine received her snatch bronze, earned with a lift of 106kg, with her left arm in a sling after suffering an injury.

Monique Araujo finished 14kg and seven places behind Lo but was every bit as happy as the champion and, along with her Swedish coach Patric Bettembourg, was in tears after making 105-126-131 in the B Group.

Araujo, one of the two Weightlifting Refugee Team (WRT) members here, had not competed for more than six years. 

In her "new" career she posted a personal best total to give substance to her belief that, one day, she would return to the platform.

"I always felt in my heart that I would come back to weightlifting and the IWF helped me to do it. I owe them huge thanks," she said after the tears had subsided.

Araujo was a domestic cleaner after moving to the United States to escape abuse and persecution in her native Brazil, and had to give up weightlifting to scrape a living.

"I had a lot of depression, a lot of bad things happened, I was working all day, eating badly … but I knew God would help me to return to this sport and it has happened."

Araujo watched a documentary about the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Refugee Team and when she asked about joining, she was redirected to the IWF Board member Florian Sperl, who leads the WRT project that was approved in March.

She joined the WRT team along with partner Aline de Souza - they jointly formed their own cleaning company in the US - and finally was able to return to "this sport I love".

Sperl was there to see it. 

"What a wonderful moment," he said.