Competitors attempt to lift weights mounted on a steel barbell, using a combination of power and technique. The barbell weighs 20kg for men and 15kg for women.
Identical weights are placed at each end of the barbell. Competitors start with the weighted barbell placed in the middle of a 4m-by-4m wooden floor, coated with non-slip material.
There are two different weightlifting events:
- the "snatch", in which competitors must lift the barbell above their head in one steady movement, and
- the "clean and jerk" where competitors first "clean" the barbell from the floor to an intermediate position in front of the neck, and then "jerk" the barbell to a position above their heads.
In both, competitors must hold the bar steady above their heads, with arms and legs straight and motionless.
Three judges determine if a competitor has successfully completed a lift by shining a white light. When at least two white lights are shown, the lift is deemed successful and the competitor may return the bar to the platform. If a competitor fails to achieve a successful lift, a red light is shown.
There are eight male categories (seven for women) determined by body weight.
56kg, 62kg, 69kg, 77kg, 85kg, 94kg, 105kg and 105+kg.
48kg, 53kg, 58kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg, and 75+kg.
In each division, weightlifters compete in both the snatch and clean and jerk, with the combined weight counting for the overall result. Weights are set in 1kg increments.