Mr. Jarno Tiainen Teamleader Finland, Head of Youth and Education Finnish Weightlifting Federation

Finland started strategic work plan in 2018, how to achieve the top level in weightlifting. First of all was to apply European Championships for Junior and U23. The competition was held in Rovaniemi 2021 during pandemic. Finland went there with a biggest team ever on an international competition. Preparations was to have a good training camp during the year. At the start there was just about 10 athletes in the group, and after each camp, more athletes where invited. 40 athletes participated in the training camp at the end. There is big difference compared to previous years, when only few athletes where involved.

For 2022 competition preparations was in different level with new coaches and ideas. Lots of training camps with a smaller group and then with the hole team. Also the coach pool was higher than ever and more coaches where invited to the national team.  As a team Finland is now getting team Trophies after every European Championships since last year, so far, the biggest success has been under 23 years women team who got silver in Durres, Albania. Senior trophies are still waiting, but its just a matter of time.

Individual level success has also started to come and with a very talent coach as well. There are more interesting stories behind the medals to come. Commitment to weightlifting are in huge level, even in meantime you need to study hard at school and also work at the same time, while you are training weightlifting. Our top athlete in Durres and silver medallist Ms. Jutta Selin was also awarded as an entrepreneur of the year 2022 at her own city of Ylöjärvi, Finland, known as Team Jutta Selin.

Stories behind the scenes

. 4th place in total

Ms. Anette Kirkanen U23 55 cat. 4th place in total

I started powerlifting 2014 and meanwhile training weightlifting also. I went couple of times to national competitions and was wondering between powerlifting and weightlifting. Weightlifting started interest more, so I quit powerlifting 2017 and start concentrating on weightlifting. I got my first weightlifting program from my coach Petri Tanninen, who was also in Rio 2016 as a national coach. Petri was my first coach in weightlifting.


I usually do train 4 to 5 times a week, meanwhile I am a fulltime student. I focus on my study’s early childhood education and health sciences.

Programming and coaching is done by Ms. Anni Vuohijoki and also important person in my weightlifting career is Rebin Rezazadeh our national coach U23 team.

My nutrition is taken care of by Hanna Rantala, who has accompanied me from the days of powerlifting to this day.

. 5th place in total.

My dad has been a lifter and already as a little girl I wanted to join him to gym. I don’t even know when I started to lift there myself, but it feels like I’ve always done it.

I train from 5 to 7 times a week depending on the training season.

My dad is my coach of course!

Ms. Siri Sytelä U23 55 kg cat. 5th place in total.

. 6th place in total.

Ms. Ronja Leppiaho U23 59 kg cat. 6th in total.

I was 16-years old when I was little bit lost what I wanted to do with my life. My mother told me to go weightlifting school which was arranged at my hometown in Lapland. I met my coach, who told me right away, that I am just a perfect weightlifter with my properties and good height. I felt that this good be my thing and I belong to this gym. I got a good spark for training and practice goal-oriented, so my goal was to be one of the best weightlifters.

I’m practising now weightlifting about 5 times a week after knee operation.

My coach Petri Tanninen has always trained me during these 5 years.

. 6th place in total.

Before I started weightlifting at the age of 19, I trained in a circus school for 12 years. My main disciplines were hand balancing and human pyramids. After quitting circus, I wanted to find a new sport that would challenge me as much as circus did. By a pure coincidence I ended up in a weightlifting gym in Helsinki, and my current coach asked me if I wanted to start training and competing in weightlifting. I started training, and two years later I competed at my first U23 European Championships in Albania where I placed sixth at the 64 kg category.


Ms. Ilona Teittinen U23 64 kg cat. 6th place in total.

I train weightlifting 5-7 times a week, depending how much I have lectures and exams at university. In addition, I do light swimming and cycling 1-2 times a week for recovery.

My coach is Anna Niemelä from Herakles weightlifting club in Helsinki, Finland.

. 2nd place in total.

Ms. Jutta Selin U23 76 kg cat. 2nd place in total.

I started to do weightlifting while doing track and field as a main sport. Weightlifting felt fun and nice thing to do, so I ended up competing in weightlifting first time in 2016. I was successful already at the beginning and weightlifting took over me and doing that ever since.

My training times differs a lot, normally I am training 5-7 times a week weightlifting and some side training also.

My coach is staying on the background and its not willing to come up with the name yet. I leave this question with no answer.

. 6th place in total.

I ended up to weightlifting by an accident in a year 2020. I did some CrossFit at the gym for one year and noticed that I am more interested in weightlifting more and more. I have competed in swimming ten years, and it seems that I still wanted to compete in some other sports. My coach Mr. Jyrki Kononen noticed me when I was training by myself strength training at gym, so therefore I ended up doing weightlifting training with him. My first weightlifting competition was 2020 just after couple of months of training.

I exercise 6-8 times a week, depending of the week, how close are the next competitions.

Ms. Sofia Rönkkö U23 81 kg cat. 6th place in total.


Fanni NIemelä
Rebin Rezazadeh


Clubs in Finland are educating their coaches to work with kids. Weightlifting school for kids is fun, more and more kids are participating also in a small club level competition. Kids have their own Cup system in weightlifting where they compete 4 times a year and what is the best of it, coaches meet each other as well and share knowledge of weightlifting and practising methods. Youngest participants are 6 years old an oldest 16 years old. After 4 competitions there is also a final competition where 32 athletes are invited, and level is very high some of the participants are in top level in Europe. Most successful thing is an annual Weightlifting Carnival in Rovaniemi at the end of July, where our top level athletes under 16 years old meet the beginners. In Finland there is a sentence, if you participate in a Weightlifting Carnival in Rovaniemi, one day you might compete in European level.

With the support of Finnish Olympic Committee, Finnish Weightlifting Federation is organizing weightlifting training camps for 7th-9th grade students. Athletes are doing normal school day in Sport Institute instead of normal school. At these training camps which are four times a year, athletes are getting extra knowledge how to become a successful athlete and how live like one. How to do your daily routine and exercise versatile and the most important how much you should eat and sleep. Maybe the most important thing is that you meet new friends and see how much the others do for weightlifting.

This program has now run for 5th year and become a key factor to success. We have now 233 licenced young lifter who are competing in a national competitions and no wonder that the level is rising. Thanks goes to our weightlifting clubs which are running mostly with the volunteers, but now is also seen that more hired coaches are at gym doing weightlifting classes, so weightlifting in Finland is going more professional. More women coaches are coming from weightlifting education classes.


Finnish weightlifting is looking good for the future, annually 20% more lifters are coming to our sport. Referees are also educated themselves in high numbers, more than 120 referees graduated last year as a national referee. This means that more club level competitions can be organized and more competition to come. Almost 20 new clubs where established even this year, that means new ideas and new people coming to our sport. When we keep our sport fun and same time give possibilities our athletes to compete in high level to future is promising.

All our athletes and people in our sports has also done the Anti-Doping online seminar, which is needed to be in our sports even as a volunteer. Towards great results in individual levels and as a team. We still need more coaches to be in international level as our team gets bigger and big thumps to our energetic national coaches in Durres Ms. Fanni Niemelä and Rebin Rezazadeh.

Mr. Jarno Tiainen
Teamleader Finland
Head of Youth and Education
Finnish Weightlifting Federation


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