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Angel Rusev is a Bulgarian weightlifter. He competed at the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship in the 55 kg weight class. At the competition, he set the youth world records in the snatch and total.

He also won the gold medal in the clean & jerk and the silver in the total, competing at the 2019 European Weightlifting Championship in the 55 kg category.

In 2021 he finished with the gold medal in the clean & jerk and the bronze medal in the total at the World Weightlifting Championships in the 55 kg category.

Apart from that, competing at the 2021 European Weightlifting Championships, he grabbed the bronze in the snatch and the gold medals both in the clean & jerk and in the total and topped everything with a new European Junior record.

In 2022 he won his European Champion title for the second time in Tirana.

We had a chance to ask Angel about his training career and lifestyle.

How did it all start in your life and why weightlifting? Is Olympic weightlifting your full-time job?

I was 11 years old when I started Olympic weightlifting. Before that, I was into boxing, but it didn't work for me. My friend invited me to weightlifting training and I liked it a lot. So for now Olympic weightlifting is my full-time job.

We’ve heard a lot about the legendary Bulgarian system of training. Is your training approach the same?

Yes, my training program is very similar to the classical Bulgarian system with a few variations: high-intensity single lifts mostly in the snatch and C&J.

Tell us about your experience of working with the legendary Ivan Ivanov? What interesting and useful things has he given to you as a coach?

Ivan Ivanov is a living LEGEND in our sport. He gives me a lot of useful tips and advice during the preps for every competition.

His support is great. For example, when I need to lose weight in the sauna, he always goes with me inside and stays as long as needed.

What is your average body weight during training and how do you cut your weight before a competition?

My body weight is around 60 kg. My coach Radoslav Atanasov has a special secret system for cutting weight. The process begins 3 weeks before a competition and for each day I have a strict weight plan for the morning and evening.

What does your regular diet look like?

I'm not a vegetarian, so I eat a lot of meat in every meal with slow carbs such as rice. Basically nothing special, but my diet is balanced and smart.

Mostly, you compete in the 55 kg weight class, but it is not an Olympic category. Do you plan to gain more weight and fight with heavier athletes?

Yes, I have plans for the 61 kg weight category and I expect to compete in it at the Worlds this year in Colombia. So I hope it is going to be a lot of fun and more heavy kilos.

What are your favorite exercises and why?

My favorites are two: squats and C&J. I feel strength in these exercises which makes me confident and that is why I like them.

Tell us about your lifting and tech weaknesses? How do you work on it?

My big weakness is the snatch.

So I focus on technique with my coach a lot. We plan and do more reps with specific snatch exercises and complexes.

Best Snatch, C&J, Back Squats?

Here are my top results at 60 kg body weight:
Snatch – 125 kg
C&J – 158 kg
Back Squat – 250 kg

What are your dream PR and future plans?

For now, my goal is to lift in snatch 130-135 kg and 170-175 kg C&J in the 61 kg weight category.

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