By Brian Oliver

Loredana Toma from Romania won her sixth European title despite missing her last two attempts in the women’s 71kg at the European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The American Olivia Reeves, lifting as a guest and unable to win medals, made 14kg more than Toma. After three straight six-from-six performances Reeves missed three attempts and was 7kg down on her best total in Olympic qualifying.

Siuzanna Valodzka had a chance to overtake Toma on her final attempt at 137kg but barely got the bar above her knees. Toma and Valodzka, the individual neutral athlete from Belarus, were both well down on their best effort in the Paris rankings and remain fourth and ninth respectively.

The biggest move was by third-placed Lisa Marie Schweizer from Germany, up from 22nd to 15th. Schweizer was close to making all six lifts, losing only one for a press-out on a jury review.

Team-mate Max Lang also had a ‘good lift’ overturned on review in the men’s 73kg on Thursday, and like Schweizer he is a few kilos outside the top 10.

“I will have to analyse the video but I didn’t think it was a pressout,” said Schweizer, who improved her career-best snatch by 4kg, clean and jerk by 2kg and total by 6kg.

She made 107-124-231 and will need at least 10kg more to make the top 10 in the final, the IWF World Cup in Phuket, Thailand which ends on April 11. “I’ll go all in there,” she said. “I’m confident.”

The two American guests would have finished first and third in an open contest. Reeves, 20, who is second in the rankings behind China’s Liao Guifang, finished on 115-140-255. She was close to making both her final clean and jerk at 148kg, getting the bar above her head before losing it forwards. Meredith Alwine made all three clean and jerks for 98-135-233.

Celia Gold has competed against the Americans in national competitions, and said she lifted against Alwine 10 years ago to the day. Today she won a medal for Israel.

The dual-national took clean and jerk silver on 98-128-226, a rankings improvement of 4kg. “You’ll see more in Thailand,” she said.

Valodzka took gold in clean and jerk in her 105-130-235. Toma won snatch gold ahead of Valodzka and Schweizer, then finished fourth in clean and jerk on 114-127-241. Once again Toma weighed in well below the limit, this time on 68.96kg.

Britain’s Sarah Davies was third in clean and jerk, finishing sixth on 98-128-226.

Giulia Miserendino from Italy, who is 14th in the rankings, did not travel to Sofia after an injury flared up. She will lift in Phuket.

Eyglo Sturludottir had a chance to improve her ranking and win a medal for Iceland, but missed her final two clean and jerks after a run of 19 straight good lifts in qualifying. She made 105-125-230.

The Finnish teenager Janette Ylisoini improved her best ranking total by 5kg but remains outside the top 20. Ylisoini, 17, made 101-123-224.

Oscar Reyes from Italy completed an impressive hat-trick of major titles when he won the men’s 81kg, in which a B Group lifter took silver.

Reyes declined his final attempt after making 155-191-346. He won the European title last April and became world champion in Saudi Arabia in September.

Albania had a good day. Erkand Qerimaj took snatch silver in his 155-180-335, but the 35-year-old was eclipsed by team-mate Kristi Ramadani.

Ramadani, 23, had not lifted since last year’s European Championships and was in the B Group. He made five good lifts for 151-190-341, taking silver in clean and jerk and total. It was 24kg more than his previous best.

Rafik Harityunyan from Armenia was third on 154-182-336.



Leave A Reply