The MALTA Weightlifting Association Team, headed by President and Coach Jesmond Caruana, participated at the 36th European Small Nations Tournament, held at San Marino.
The team, consisting of Noel Coleiro, Rodmar Pulis, Jovan Reljic, and youth Keiran Mifsud, faced a stern challenge from Iceland, who came out in full force, boasting heavier-category athletes, as well as Cyprus, whose team included Olympian Dimitris Minasides. Apart from these, the remaining rival teams included Monaco, San Marino and Luxembourg. Apart from the central tournament featuring the Small Nations, the event was extended to include the San Marino Open. The additional national teams included in this were Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Wales.
For Malta, 14 year old Keiran Mifsud had quite a successful showing at the competition, breaking no less than seven national records in the youth -94 kilogram category, with a solid total of 200kg. With this, Mifsud placed an impressive second in the under-17 category.
In the men’s senior’s competition, Serbian-born Reljic suffered a shaky start in the Snatch lift, missing his first attempt. Rodmar Pulis and Noel Coleiro had a stronger showing at the initial snatch phase, narrowly missing their third and final Snatch attempts. After a somewhat dramatic Clean and Jerk phase, the three lifters managed to push through to achieve totals of 215kg from Reljic, 225kg from Coleiro and last but not least 231kg from the young Pulis. The tournament winners were calculated based on the total Sinclair points gained by the top three athletes from each team, and with that, the Malta team gained 814 points – earning our national team third place.
Rodmar Pulis, with this gritty performance, placed 2nd in the Juniors category and 7th overall, while Keiran Mifsud, although this being his first competitive experience at the international scene, gave a hard-fought performance, proving yet again that the efforts made by the Malta Weightlifting Association in promoting the sport among the younger generation is bearing fruit, in spectacular fashion. Apart from the athletes, the Maltese contingent also saw Ramona Borg tasked with the duties of technical official, serving as a referee.
This success was made possible with the help of the Malta Olympic Committee (MOC) as well as the Kunsill Malti Ghal-Sport (KMS).