It’s June 2022, the war has been going on in Ukraine for more than three months. Our Armed Forces and all Ukrainian people are bravely defending the country against russian invaders. Every citizen is trying their best for the sake of the Victory.
Ukrainian athletes continue preparing and competing at international competitions in order to raise our flag and remind the international society that we still call for their help.
For the whole previous week, the European Weightlifting Championship was taking place in Tirana (Albania). By the way, it was the 100th anniversary.
I came there for 3 days to recall and feel the vibe again and also to support our team. I liked the organization of the competition and training hall: everything was really comfortable. While observing the championships, I came up with a few interesting thoughts:
Weightlifting is growing. New leading countries come into play. New young but successful coaches start their work with a modern vision of technique and methodology. Personally, I was fascinated by Italy. They have their own pre-competition tip: some athletes did a light warm-up with a bar 6 hours before the performance. Moreover, Italians finally set world records. It was impossible to imagine it only 10 years ago but now they have Nino Pizzolato.
A lot of athletes over 30 take part in competitions. What’s more, it happens both among men and women.
Plenty of weightlifters have come from fitness and now perform at the TOP level.
The Norwegian athlete Solfrid Koanda is a perfect example of that: she came to a gym at 15, and only 5 years later became a European champion.
Technical and psychological preparation are VERY urgent. Firstly, I noticed that referees are really strict about catch position: the slightest move in the elbows ends up with no lift. Secondly, once tactical fight starts, athletes make obvious “beginner” mistakes: pull the shoulders backward, rush during the snatch fixation, “forget” how to jerk.
This preparation was really hard and stressful because of the sudden russian invasion. The women’s team was preparing at the Kyiv Olympic training base. The men’s team was in Chernihiv in the beginning, but after the fighting started there, they moved to the Bucharest Olympic center with the help of the Ukrainian and Romanian Weightlifting Federations as well as the International one.
However, the Ukrainian team’s results appeared to be not only unexpected but also unique. I will gladly and proudly share it with you. Ukrainian weightlifters won 21 medals: 18 by women and 3 by men.
On top of that, the women’s team turned out to be a leader in the overall medal count among 34 European countries. 6 female athletes finished on the podium.
Angelina Lomachynska (49 kg weight class)
- Snatch – 80 kg, GOLD
- Clean&Jerk – 87 kg, BRONZE
- Total – 167 kg, SILVER
Alina Marushchak (81 kg)
- Snatch – 108 kg, SILVER
- Clean&Jerk – 127 kg, BRONZE
- Total – 235 kg, SILVER
I will remind you that Alina became a world champion in this weight class last year.
By the way, both athletes started lifting weights under the supervision of Oleg Poliakov who also prepared the Olympic champion (Barcelona, 1992) Tudor Casapu.
Kamila Konotop (55 kg)
- Snatch – 94 kg, Silver
- Clean&Jerk – 113 kg, Gold
- Total – 207 kg, Silver
Kamila was in the very center of the war in the beginning but with the help of the coaches, she was evacuated to a safe place to continue the preparation. Thus, her results and medals at this competition are truly a miracle!
Maria Gangur (64 kg)
- Snatch – 102 kg, GOLD
- Clean&Jerk – 120 kg, BRONZE
- Total – 222 kg, GOLD
This weight class was new for her but she managed to lift 6-for-6.
I’m proud that both Kamila and Maria are trained by my coach – Valeriy Nikulin.
Iryna Dekha (81 kg)
- Snatch – 116 kg, GOLD
- Clean&Jerk – 137 kg, GOLD
- Total – 253 kg, GOLD
A very surprising and delightful performance was by Maksym Dombrovskyi in the 96 kg weight class. He became a junior world champion a month ago so coaches decided to give him another chance among adults this time.
He finished in the 4th place (only 1 kilo to the bronze). Nevertheless, he set his personal record of 207 kg in the third attempt (+9 kg to his previous PR) and won the silver medal in the clean & jerk.
I’m proud of our team’s performance and thankful to all the coaches and everyone who was involved in these victories!!!
During this tough period of Ukraine’s history, you can help Ukraine against russian aggression:
1. Direct Help To The Ukrainian Forces. Here Are The Links To Reliable Funds:
2. Join The Anti-War Movement In Your Country:
3. You Can Support Us, As A Company:
Your purchases will help us to stay afloat. Or you can buy a special Donation card and spend it in the future on upcoming programs. Part of the funds will be transferred to Voices of Children’s Charity Foundation.
We are keeping COLD MIND.
We will win and defend OUR country!!!
Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Heroes!
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.