Weightlifters Lidia Valentin and Lasha Talakhadze were celebrated at the 2018 Lifters of the Year Award Gala in Georgia on Monday evening. The gala celebrated both of these athletes being named as the 2018 Lifters of the Year.
The gala brought together many notable people in the weightlifting community, and the evening was led by Dr Tamas Aján, the IWF President. The Georgian Weightlifting Federation hosted the event and gala. According to the IWF, Talakhadze and Valentin dominated the voting pool (which was upwards of 30,000 votes cast), with Talakhadze receiving 18,000 votes, and Valentin receiving around 13,000.
Super-heavyweight Talakhadze is no stranger to winning ‘Athlete of the Year’ awards and was recognized as Georgia’s ‘Athlete of the Year’ in 2017, along with the IWF ‘Athlete of the Year’. However, Talakhadze’s 2018 could arguably be his best season to date, as he not only set an official 220kg snatch all-time world record, but also set a new 477kg all-time total world record. This can all be added to his long list of career accomplishments including being an Olympic Champion, three-time World Champion, and four-time European Champion.
The other recipient of the prestigious award is Valentin, a Spanish weightlifter in the -75kg class. She is also an Olympic Champion, and has also been a two-time World Champion and a four-time European Champion. She competed in the -75kg class up until this year when the IWF introduced new weight classes. She is now recognized in -81kg class.
Both athletes spoke at the gala and expressed how thankful they were for the award, and the sport of weightlifting,
Vale“Having a leading role in women’s weightlifting and earning this honor is a dream came true. An event like this brings people together, I am so happy to be a part of it,” Valentin said at the event. “Next on my agenda is the World Championships, then competing on more qualifying events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.”
“I hope I can make weightlifting even more popular in my country and motivate young people to choose this great sport,” Talakhadze told the crowd. “I am very proud of all the achievements of my team and grateful for their support. It is a wonderful feeling that the Award Gala takes place in my home country again and I can show the World how great Georgia and its people are.”
The evening celebrated two weightlifters who have reached the highest levels of success in the sport, and with the Olympics close around the corner, we can’t wait to see how their 2019 and 2020 competition seasons pan out.
Feature image from @iwfnet Instagram page.