The Youth Olympic Games hosted by Buenos Aires in Argentina between the 6th and 18th of October and saw over 1963 girls and 1963 boys participating from 206 different countries including one of Malta Weightlifting very own Shelby Mangion Vassallo.
Shelby had been specifically preparing for the Games for over a year prior, where she increased her training sessions and also working with a professional dietician to bring down her bodyweight from close to 80kg to 63kg. She went on to compete in other major championships including the European Youth Championships and slowly increased her lifts as her body weight decreased.
Mangion Vassallo also participated in numerous training camps and worked very hard to get in the best shape possible for the biggest competition of her life. At the Games, Shelby made the Malta Weightlifting association and Maltese public very proud by competing with outmost confidence on the platform. She started the competition with a successful 59kg snatch followed by 62kg then closely missed 64kg on her last attempt. Similarly in the Clean and jerk, she started with a strong 72kg, continued successfully with 76kg then tried powering through a through 80kg on her this attempt but was unfortunately unsuccessful. This 138kg total result was a personal best for the youth athlete in the 63kg category, where she also managed to break 5 youth national records and 5 junior national records on the Olympic stage.
Shelby, who has now earned the title of Olympian, finished in 10th place overall. With this outstanding result she moved to 31st place in the world youth rankings.
Shelby was accompanied by Jesmond Caruana, who is no stranger to an Olympic Games environment. This was Caruana’s 3rd participation as head coach of national team at an Olympic Games, with the first being with Nicole Gatt at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in 2014, and with Kyle Micallef at the 2016 Rio Olympics. After an unfortunate result with Kyle in 2016 where he was unable to register a total result, Shelby has started the ball rolling again for successful results on such an Olympic platform.
Caruana was a huge part of Shelby’s preparation for these Games as he has worked closely with the athlete making sure the training of the youth athlete was adequate for a developing teenager and also made sure she stayed strong and healthy as her bodyweight went down. The MWA are very proud that their hard work has paid off and would like to thank the Malta Olympic Committee and SportMalta for their ongoing support during this preparation.