European Weightlifting Championships Start List Features Big, Surprising Names

The 2016 European Weightlifting Championships are right around the corner, with lifting running from April 10th through April 16th in Førde, Norway (though meetings and prep begin April 8th).

It’s one of the last Olympic qualifying events where countries can earn spots in Rio, so there are enough team and points implications for most countries to send stacked rosters, even a few months before Rio’s big dance.

Info and schedules for the European Weightlifting Championships available on the European Weightlifting Federation’s site. But the most interesting info is found on the event’s tentative entry list. Highlights and lifters to watch out for below:

In the Women’s 63 kilo category, British lifter Zoe Smith has the highest listed start total at 226 kilos. The 21 year old has moved up from the 58 kilo category, in which she won a bronze medal at the European Championships in 2014. Video of her lifting from Hookgrip:

In the Women’s +75 category, Russian lifter Tatiana Kashirina is listed to start with an entry total of 290, well under her best competition total of 348 kilos (video of that total below) — these are often purposefully conservative, so expect her to do far, far more. Kashirina will be competing for an incredible SEVENTH European Championship title (she has competed and won every year since 2009 with the exception of 2013).

The men’s 85 kilo category should be a highlight, and the highest start total belongs to 34 year old Andrei Rybakou of Belarus. Rybakou is a veteran by anyone’s standard and won silver medals in both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

He still holds the snatch world record in the weight class at an astounding 187 kilos — just one kilogram below the world record in the 94 kilos class. Check it out:

The +105 men’s weight class could be an epic battle between two Georgian lifters — 22 year old Lasha Talakhadze and 31 year old Irakli Turmanidze — and Mart Seim of Estonia. As of Aleksey Lovchev’s retroactive disqualification from the 2015 World Weightlifting Championship for a banned substance, Talakhadze is the reigning World Champion in his weight class.

Seim is perhaps best known as one of the world’s premiere squatters, but his snatch and clean & jerk numbers have been climbing to levels among the world’s best in the superheavyweight category.

Check out this video of his recent 400 kg high bar back squat, straight from the Estonian superheavy’s YouTube page: