Moore’s 5-for-6 Day Highlights 59 kg Session for USA

PHUKET, Thailand - USA Weightlifting’s second day of competition at the IWF World Cup featured 59 kg lifters Taylor Wilkins and Shayla Moore, and was highlighted by Moore going 5-for-6 for a 203 kg total in the C session. Wilkins, who competed in the A session, did not make a snatch lift and opted to not lift in the clean and jerk portion of her session. Wilkins entered the competition ranked 10th in the 59 kg Olympic Qualifying Rankings and was hoping to improve her ranking this week.

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Moore was the first of Team USA’s 59 kg athletes to compete, lifting in the 59 kg C session. Representing the U.S. for just the third time in her career and for the first time since the 2022 IWF World Championships, Moore went 5-for-6 and topped out with a 88 kg snatch and 115 kg clean & jerk for a 203 kg total. She made all her snatches (82 kg, 85 kg, 88 kg) and missed the first C&J at 110 kg before making it on the second attempt and wrapping up the day with a 115 kg lift.

“I’m pretty happy with what I did today,” Moore said. “I came out here to just have fun and that’s what I did. That first clean and jerk was a little fluke but we made up for it with the next two attempts so I’m just very happy with my performance. The game plan was to stay conservative - I’m not here trying to make any national teams. I told Spencer [her coach] that I really wanted the opportunity to go 6-for-6 at an international meet so to go 5-for-6 is really exciting.”

The immediate future for Moore is uncertain as she eases into a new full-time job back home in Texas and takes a step back to reconsider what’s next with the sport. USA Weightlifting’s upcoming Nationals Week in Pittsburgh and North American Open Series 2 meet in Texas are qualifiers for the USA World Championships team, and Moore is considering competing at those to qualify for the World Championships team.

“Shayla did exactly what I hoped she would do today,” said Spencer Arnold, Moore’s coach. “We came to have a really good time, have some fun, and just enjoy being on an international stage. Every time Shay has stepped on an international stage there was pressure in a total or ranking to chase and I don’t feel like Shayla ever had the opportunity to enjoy competition and build numbers and build confidence. She has had a lot of changes in her life with moving states and starting her new job, so I’m really proud of her for embracing that change and understanding that her total today may be different than what it was a year ago because it represents her life. She’s figuring out weightlifting while she figures out her life, and she’s a great example of someone who faces challenges and changes head on. I’m really happy with everything today and it was super fun.”

Wilkins came to Thailand ready to battle to improve her placement in the OQR and ideally punch her ticket to the Paris Olympics. The American record holder in the 59 kg clean & jerk and total attempted to snatch 97 kg once and 98 kg twice but couldn’t make it happen. Despite the misses, Wilkins briefly considered still lifting in the clean and jerk portion, but ultimately decided to pull out while warming up during intermission.

“Taylor is a professional who has been on big stages like this before between World Championships and other Olympic qualifiers, this is just a real big one and the last one,” said Mike Gattone, head coach for Team USA. “She was in great shape and smashed her last warm up set before going out on the platform for her opener. It was a great opening attempt but it was a miss and it can be very difficult in these pressure cooker competitions to miss a lift and tell yourself that you need to make a certain number. It’s a hard hurdle to deal with for anybody. Taylor has worked her butt off throughout this quad and has been a great team leader and participant, so I feel bad for her, but I’m proud of her for making it here and for all of the work she’s done.”

Wilkins was one of five U.S. women who ranked top-10 in their respective weight class coming into the World Cup. With just three athletes of a single gender eligible to qualify for the Games for each country, and the allotted slots going to the three athletes who outranked their fellow countrywomen, competition amongst the U.S. women has been fierce for months.

“This quad has been hard and it sucks to go out how I did and for it to end this way,” Wilkins said. “There’s a great group of girls [on the U.S. team], and you learn that we’re all competitors and everyone in the group is good. To know that you had an opportunity and had it taken away with a performance like that where you don’t even get to show your ability is disappointing. I’m proud to have gone through this quad and represent Team USA but it’s unfortunate that it ended this way. All of the U.S. athletes in this quad were great competitors and we all struggled together. We all kept pushing and even though we were going against each other it was still a great experience because you had support from all sides.”

Up Next

Ryan Grimsland and Caden Cahoy compete next for Team USA in the men’s 73 kg B session April 4 at 2:30 a.m. ET. Follow the action with the links here.