The annual Malta Weightlifting National Championships took place on Sunday 18th November and brought together Malta’s best lifters from all age groups and weight categories. With several personal best lifts being made, and national records being broken, these national championships proved to be a successful one for the Maltese athletes.
The 2018 female National Champions include Shelby Mangion Vassallo, who won the title in not only the U-15 youth category, but also named U-17, Junior and Senior national championship in the 63kg category. She ended the competition with a 60kg snatch and 74kg clean and jerk. Yazmin Zammit Stevens was named the 69kg National Champion, where she finished with 78kg snatch and 100kg clean and jerk. Zammit Stevens missed out on the title in 2017 due to injury, and has therefore strongly regained her title. Elisia Scicluna won the 90kg category weighing in at 79kg body weight, where she finished the championships with 75kg snatch and 95kg clean and jerk which proves to be a strong comeback since her injury to both her arms last summer.
A great showing and highlight for the women’s group was Malta’s youngest female lifter, 13 year old Tenishia Thornton who finished the meet with a massive personal best snatch of 44kg and an incredible attempt of 54kg in the clean and jerk. Her snatch attempt of 44kg was a national record in the 44kg category of the Youth age group and also a record in the 48kg category Junior and Senior age group. She was named U-15, U-17, Youth and Junior National Champion.
From the boys groups, another young weightlifter had a great showing and also broke several national records. Rylee Borg, born in 2006, competed like an experiences veteran and finished the meet with 46kg snatch and 59kg clean and jerk in the 56kg category of the cadet age group. Borg was named cadet national champion in his weight class.
The men’s 85kg group proved to be the most exciting on the day, with three athletes pushing their limits to leave with the title. Matthew Camilleri was victorious at the end and ended the meet with 102kg snatch and 127kg clean and jerk. He was followed by Anton Micallef who lifted 103kg snatch and 125kg clean and jerk, and Kyle Micallef with 100kg snatch and 120kg clean and jerk.
Shaun Ciantar had the best meet of his relatively new weightlifting career, where he lifted all personal best lifts across the board. Ciantar ended with a 102kg snatch and a 125kg clean and jerk and was named Malta’s 77kg national champion. In the same weight class, Keith Azzorpardi was named Junior national champion finished with a 90kg snatch and a 107kg clean and jerk.
Another great result was done by Vlad Baldacchino, who won the 94kg weight class with his 120kg snatch and 138kg clean and jerk.
President of the Malta Weightlifting Association spoke after the championships, explaining how this meet was the last national meet and therefore closes a chapter for 2018. He also explained how we will be seeing a different look to the competition set up in 2019 with professional equipment being brought in that resembles the competition platform seen in major international championships including European Championships and Worlds. Caruana also explained that in 2019, Malta will be organising the weightlifting European Small Nations tournament in March.
Despite this being the last national meet, there is still one more competition left on the calendar for the Maltese contingent. Zammit Stevens and coach Jesmond Caruana will be travelling to Qatar to compete at the Doha Cup in late December, which is another qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.