Cummings repeats as Pan Am champ, breaks own American record

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By Mike McCombs

Beaufort’s C.J. Cummings successfully defended his overall gold medal and broke his own American record in the Snatch in the 73 kg weight classification at the 2020 Pan Am Games on Wednesday in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Cummings made 148 kg and 142 kg on his first two Snatch attempts. His American-record 155 kg Snatch on his third lift, ironically, was only good for silver in the lift. He was just short of Venezuela’s Julio Mayora. The current Pan American record holder lifted 156 kg to take gold

“I felt really confident with the 155kg Snatch,” Cummings told USA Weightlifting after the competition. “In my mind I already had it made up, so what I did was just pulled it really hard and had to take a step back because I over-pulled it. It felt like an easy lift.”

Cummings made up for the shortfall in the Snatch with a dominant Clean and Jerk to win gold in the event and the total for the weight class.

The Beaufort High grad made 178 kg on his opening attempt before a big leap to 188 kg. He missed on his American record attempt at 194kg on his third lift, but the 188 would stand for gold. His 343 kg total was good enough for gold and made him the 73 kg Pan American Champion.

“I wanted to go six for six today, obviously I didn’t,” Cummings told USA Weightlifting after the competition. “All in all, it was a great performance and I’m just happy to have won another championship.”

Including Cummings’ three medals, Team USA’s men scored 14 medals, including five gold, three silver and six bronze, to finish in third place.

This competition was a qualification event for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Olympic Qualifying period runs through May 31, and according to USA Weightlifting, it will be able to name its Olympic Team by that point.

Originally scheduled for the spring of 2020 but delayed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2020 Pan American Championships were rescheduled for April 2021. The 2021 edition of the Pan American Championships are scheduled for Nov. 1-11 in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Cummings is an American hopeful for the XXXII Olympic Summer Games to be held July 23 through Aug. 8 in Tokyo.

Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.