The first major international weightlifting competition in the COVID-19 era is in the books. Last week, athletes from all over Europe traveled to Moscow, Russia, to compete face-to-face for the first time in over a year due to delays and rescheduling brought about due to the continuing pandemic. The event took place from April 3-11, 2021.
Despite both rigid travel protocols and restrictions on media presence at the event, both weightlifters and fans were delighted to experience a “traditional” competition. The Moscow 2021 EWC — originally scheduled for 2020 — was a welcome return to the sport for the athletes present and came with several standout moments from its participants. Let’s take a look at the board leaders in each category and some of the jaw-dropping lifts from the week.
Below, you can check out highlights of the men’s 109-kilogram division courtesy of Frank Rothwell OLY on YouTube, whose channel has more complete coverage of the event.
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Note: These results are from the “A Group” sessions, where athletes are vying for podium positions. Rankings from the B and C groups can be found in the European Weightlifting Championships official results book. All weights listed below — including weight categories and lifts — are in kilograms. The first number listed after the athlete’s name is their total. The second number is their snatch, and the third number is the clean & jerk.
In the Womens’ A Group sessions, Russia had a particularly dominant performance, securing eight medals in the total across all classes. Despite heavy international scrutiny over drug abuse allegations and the absence of Tatiana Kashirina, the country’s powerhouse +87, due to a doping suspension, Russia continues to prove it is a force to be reckoned with in the European circuit.
Below, we list the top three in each weight category.
- Nadezhda Nguen (BUL) — 155 (72/83)
- Ivana Petrova (BUL) — 152 (67/85)
- Melisa Gunes (TUR) — 151 (68/83)
- Monica Csengeri (ROU) — 189 (86/103)
- Kristina Sobol (RUS) — 181 (85/96)
- Mihaela Cambei (ROU) —180 (80/100)
- Kamila Konotop (UKR) — 208 (95/113)
- Svetlana Ershova (RUS) — 200 (88/112)
- Nina Sterckx (BEL) — 197 (88/109)
- Boyanka Kostova (AZE) 211 (95/116)
- Olga Te (RUS) 210 (95/115)
- Dora Tchakounte (FRA) 210 (95/115)
- Loredana Toma (ROU) 244 (114/130)
- Sarah Davies (GBR) 230 (101/129)
- Anastasiia Anzorova (RUS) 222 (100/122)
- Emily Godley (GBR) 227 (98/129)
- Alessia Durante (ITA) 219 (97/122)
- Raluca Olaru (ROU) 218 (98/120)
- Iryna Dekha (UKR) 248 (113/135)
- Iana Sotieva (RUS) 246 (112/134)
- Anastasiia Romanova (RUS) 243 (111/132)
- Alina Marushchak (UKR) 236 (109/127)
- Gaelle Nayo-Ketchanke (FRA) 231 (100/131)
- Liana Gyurjyan (ARM) 227 (98/129)
- Daria Akhmerova (RUS) 246 (108/138)
- Elena Cilcic (MDA) 245 (107/138)
- Daria Riazanova (RUS) 240 (105/135)
- Emily Campbell (GBR) 276 (122/154)
- Anastasiia Lysenko (UKR) 252 (116/136)
- Melike Gunal (TUR) 243 (108/135)
Among the men, Armenia took home the highest number of medals, winning seven in the total. This comes as no surprise as Armenia consistently brings strong, varied rosters to international competitions, including veterans like Minasyan (+109) and Karapetyan (89).
- Angel Rusev (BUL) 258 (111/147)
- Valentin Iancu (ROU) 248 (108/140)
- Dmytro Voronovskyi (UKR) 247 (110/137)
- Stilyan Grozdev (BUL) 296 (136/160)
- Shota Mishvelidze (GEO) 290 (135/155)
- Ferdi Hardal (TUR) 287 (130/157)
- Muhammed Ozbek (TUR) 323 (145/178)
- Mirko Zanni (ITA) 318 (148/170)
- Valentin Genchev (BUL) 315 (138/177)
- Daniyar Ismayilov (TUR) 341 (160/181)
- Marin Robu (MDA) 339 (156/183)
- Briken Calja (ALB) 336 (152/184)
- Antonino Pizzolato (ITA) 370 (164/206)
- Karlos Nasar (BUL) 369 (163/206)
- Ritvars Suharevs (LAT) 347 (157/190)
- Karen Avagyan (ARM) 375 (175/200)
- Revaz Davitadze (GEO) 374 (171/203)
- Andranik Karapetyan (ARM) 365 (170/195)
- Anton Pliesnoi (GEO) 393 (180/213)
- Petr Asayonak (BLR) 374 (172/202)
- Hakob Mkrtchyan (ARM) 372 (160/212)
- Samvel Gasparyan (ARM) 390 (176/214)
- Arsen Martirosyan (ARM) 380 (171/209)
- Dadas Dadashbeyli (AZE) 379 (177/202)
- Dmytro Chumak (UKR) 407 (181/226)
- Hristo Hristov (BUL) 406 (186/220)
- Timur Naniev (RUS) 401 (184/217)
- Lasha Talakhadze (GEO) 485 (222/263)
- Gor Minasyan (ARM) 464 (216/248)
- Varazdat Lalayan (ARM) 445 (205/240)
2021 EWC Standout Performances
Medal droughts were ended, world records were set, and fans worldwide were reminded of the raw excitement and energy a live weightlifting competition can bring. Here are six standout performances at the 2021 EWC.
Loredana Toma (64, ROU)
Toma continued to make it known that she is a force to be reckoned with in the 64-kilogram category, totaling a gargantuan 244 kilos, a result that would have also won her gold in the next weight class up. This also represents Toma’s fourth consecutive EWC win, starting with her 2017 victory in Split, Croatia, in which she totaled 226 kilograms.
Sarah Davies (64, GBR)
Sarah Davies, who is the IWF Athlete Commission’s chair, lifted a very impressive 129kg in the Clean & Jerk event, a full seven kilos over her prior competition best. While her snatch performance wasn’t enough to threaten Romanian gold medalist Loredana Toma, they did go neck-and-neck in the clean & jerk, which is both unexpected and commendable. If Davies can push her snatch result in the coming months, she may be a contender for gold next year.
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Emily Muskett (71, GBR)
Muskett — who was registered in competition as Emily Godley — of Great Britain earned Gold in the total in the highly competitive Womens’ 71-kilogram class, representing the first time the country has had an athlete on top of the podium in that division in almost three decades. While her competitors Durante (ITA) and Olaru (ROU) gave her a tough time in the snatch, Godley dominated in the clean& jerk, winning with an outstanding 129 kilograms.
Max Lang (73, GER)
Lang took home his first international Gold with a 185-kilogram clean & jerk. Despite a rocky start in the snatch, in which he missed two out of his three attempts, the fan-favorite rallied and guaranteed himself a medal. The 185-kilo lift is also one of Lang’s best competition efforts in that lift to date.
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Karlos Nasar (81, BUL)
Nasar burst onto the scene in a big way in the 81-kilogram category. Born May 12, 2004, the fresh-faced 16-year-old from Bulgaria secured silver in the Total after a grueling duel against Italy’s Antonino Pizzolato, losing by a mere one kilogram in the snatch. Nasar’s performance was truly unbelievable, putting up numbers that rival middleweight legends such as Lu Xiaojun. His social media also contains lifts even more impressive than what he showcased in Moscow, including a 167-kilogram snatch and an unofficial 210-kilogram world record clean & jerk. If Nasar continues to add to his total over the next few years, we could be looking at the next weightlifting phenomenon.
Lasha Talakhadze (+109, GEO)
On Sunday, April 11, 2021, the Georgian superheavyweight snatched 222 kilograms for a new all-time world record. (His heaviest snatch ever is 223 kilograms.) He also jerked an extraordinary 263 kilos, just one kilogram shy of the world record that he hit at the 2019 WWC in Pattaya, Thailand. Combined, these two lifts established a new world record total of 485 kilograms, securing Talakhadze the gold medal by a margin of over 20 kilograms. Results like these continue to strengthen the case for Talakhadze being the singular strongest human being ever to live.
The European Weightlifting Championships in Moscow were a welcome, much-needed return to normalcy that both weightlifters and fans had been looking forward to after a tumultuous year. With multiple new world records established and heated battles in most divisions, the event sets a promising tone as we look towards the few remaining competitions before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, set to take place from July 23, 2021, to August 8.
The Asian Championships are set to begin on April 16 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and the Pan-American Championships follow on April 18 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Featured image: @max_lang_weightlifting on Instagram/Photo by Isaac J. Morillas