Finally, the long-awaited European Championship took place, which was postponed for a whole year due to the pandemic. For athletes, this was a difficult situation, since many were left not only without competitive practice, but also without the opportunity to train, had to look for chances to compete online, and some weightlifters even ended their professional careers.
The national team of Ukraine also found itself in difficult conditions, now, in the middle of the pandemic absolutely all gyms were closed and the coaches and their athletes had to look for solutions to continue the training process.
All European countries and the whole world watched with close attention the competitive struggle in Moscow online. Unfortunately, fans were not allowed to watch this performance. Only teammates could support the athletes alive.
This competition can be called historic for our country, since according to the results of the medal standings, Ukraine took the first team place. The total number of medals was: 10 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze.
Such a result for Ukrainian weightlifting is the first in history at the European Championships. Earlier, back in 1993, the men’s team won the first team place at the World Championships in Melbourne.
We decided to ask a few questions to our champions to find out their impressions of the performance, as well as further plans.
Kamila KONOTOP, 20 years old, weight category – 55 kg, coach – Valery Nikulin
- Snatch – 95 kg (gold)
- Clean and jerk – 113 kg (gold)
- Total – 208 kg (gold)
This is your first major victory. How was it to be the front-runner on the adult championship?
To be honest, there was no time to think about whether I was the leader or not. When I went to the platform, the only thing I constantly thought about was not to let my coach down and show what I am ready for today and my best result.
How do you rate your result and performance?
I think it’s pretty good! My coach gave me a specific plan in kilograms for what I need to lift in the snatch and clean and jerk. It was necessary to have a chance to compete for medals with girls in my weight category. Three gold medals and all green lights speak for themselves. I did everything, and we were very satisfied.
Your brother is an awardees of many international weightlifting competitions. Who initiated your weightlifting classes?
Yes, it’s true, my brother Ihor is also a professional weightlifter! Thanks to him, I basically learned about weightlifting. Observing his successes and achievements, I developed an interest in this sport. He is my motivation and support! My victory at this European Championship was also due to his support and faith in me!
Do you have a real chance to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, what are the conditions set for you to get into the team?
I do not want to discuss much on this topic. The plan is to keep myself in shape and go towards my goal!
Dmytro CHUMAK, 30 years old, weight category – 109 kg, coach – Mikhail Matsekha
- Snatch – 181 kg
- Clean and jerk – 226 kg (gold)
- Total – 407 kg (gold)
How do you rate your result and performance in the new bodyweight category?
Obviously, the shown total result is not even my best, but, on the other hand, it is a winning number. I am pleased that I had a chance to stand for the third time on the podium with the rank of European Champion. So you can analyze it in different ways))
What went wrong in the snatch?
It’s hard to say for sure! The coach and I analyzed my performance in detail and comprehensively concluded that this was not related to training, load, technique, etc. Most of all, I believe that these are the impacts of the coronavirus which I had 3 weeks before the competitions, this significantly affected my athletic form. It was felt that the virus weakened me greatly.
We wish the Ukrainian team good luck on the international weightlifting stage and continue to follow and enjoy their success !!!
Author: Ihor Shymechko
PRO Olympic Weightlifter, Coach
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg
Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics.
After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.