In a stroke of good fortune, Beaufort’s C.J. Cummings has been added to the American roster for the 2015 IWF World Weightlifting Championships that begin Saturday in Houston.
Cummings, 15, is slated to compete at 8:30 p.m., EST Sunday.
The Beaufort High School sophomore is the youngest competitor in the event.
Despite being the American men’s champion in his 69-kilogram weight class, Cummings had been left off the team because of USA Weightlifting’s decision to revert to a ranking system that dropped him from third to ninth among American lifters.
Jones and Cummings, with the hopes that officials might make a change, traveled to Houston anyway. In the end, however, another American lifter pulled out with a back issue, allowing Cummings to take his spot.
“Whatever reason it was,” Jones said, “he’s on the team and he’s lifting.”
Ironically, Cummings participation could help his case for the Olympics. He could earn points for Team USA, which are used to determine how many lifters each country can slot for the Olympics.
“He could make the Olympics because he helped himself by getting a point here or there,” Jones said.
Cummings, who will lift in the C group, isn’t expected to win at this event. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to be gained.
Jones said Cummings will gain valuable experience lifting on the largest stage outside of the Olympics.
Cummings also has a shot to lift 173 kg in the snatch, which would be an official Youth World Record.
“That doesn’t help with the Olympics,” Jones said, “but that’s potentially a big deal, especially being from the United States. That hasn’t happened in years.”
As of midnight Wednesday, Jones still did not know Cummings’ fate. Officials held a final verification meeting that lasted well into the small hours of the morning.
When Jones found out early Thursday, he let Cummings get a good night’s sleep before telling him.
“’Congratulations,’ ” Jones said he told Cummings. “ ’You’ve already done it, your first Men’s Worlds at 15. You’ve won, now let’s go have fun.’ ”