Europe’s biggest weightlifting competition was held between the 1st and 8th of April in Split, Croatia. Yazmin Zammit Stevens and Kieran Mifsud were Malta Weightlifting Association’s representative at the major event where they competed in the women’s 63kg category and the men’s 105kg category respectively.
As the first Maltese women to ever compete on the European Senior championships platform, Zammit Stevens achieved a respectable 7th place in her group, the best result achieved so far. She managed to outlift athletes from Ireland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark and Israel, in the overall classification she finished in 15th place. Even though it wasn’t a great competition for her, Zammit Stevens managed to break her own Snatch record in the 63kg category with a 76kg attempt, an attempt that she managed to save on the tip of her toes! She went on to make her first attempt of the Clean and jerk at 90kg, but was unsuccessful with her other two attempts at 93kg.
Mifsud competed the following Friday in the 105kg category, were he was the youngest athlete competing in his group at 17 years old. He finished in 7th place in his group and 23rd place in the overall. He lifted 127kg snatch and 160kg clean and jerk, closing with a total of 287kg. He broke 11 national records in the process with 6 Junior (U20) records and 5 Senior records. This was Mifsud’s first major international competition since his break last year due to injury, however it did not reflect in this performance as he looked as confident as ever on the platform.
Both athletes were in Rome for 5 weeks prior to the European Seniors, were they trained with the Italian national team in preparation for their competition. Zammit Stevens expressed how important this training camp was for them, “Rome was a great experience. We got to train with professional athletes and live the professional life. All we did was train, eat and sleep. It was such a great opportunity to concentrate on our competition. We learned so much and are very thankful for the opportunity”. She went on to say that these type of opportunities are unfortunately rare for any Maltese athletes, and that it is this type of training regime that they need to become better athletes and reach bigger results in international events.
Both athletes were accompanied by Jesmond Caruana, he was also called on duty of member of Jury, while Stephen Borg was selected as technical controller. The training camp and participation in the Senior Championships would have not been possible without the continuous help provided by the Malta Olympic Committee and SportMalta, Italian weightlifting federation and European weightlifting federation.