BEST TEAM IN EUROPE
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.
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!
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.
Why didn't you get the second attempt in clean and jerk?
It is very unusual for me to lose the lift just like that, just dropping the barbell from the rack position when getting up from the bottom position. Most of all, I believe that this mistake accidentally appeared due to psychological pressure as a result of competitive struggle. The main thing is that I pulled myself together in the third attempt and jerked 226 kg to win!
It's less than 100 days until the Tokyo Olympics. What is the preparation plan? What will you focus on?
Yes, I have a short time to prepare. Any athlete always has something to work on and what needs to be improved. As for me, I will focus on some elements of preparation that require special attention and concentration. But these are already in-training details, which only the coach and I know and understand.
25 years old, weight category - 76 kg, coach - Evgeny Shilov
Snatch - 113 kg (gold)
Clean and jerk - 135 kg (gold)
Total - 248 kg (gold)
How do you rank your result and performance at this Championship?
I am not completely satisfied with the result at the European Championships, since I did not fix 115 kg in the snatch and failed 135 kg in the clean and jerk. But I did my job, I just need to win.
Red lights on your third snatch attempt! What happened?
For a whole year there were no international competitions, I lost the competitive feeling of the platform and barbell, as a result, the last snatch was simply confused, rushed and did not fix the bar above my head. I simply lowered the bar without waiting for the judge's signal. It's a shame, but sometimes this also happens at big competitions.
You power jerked almost on straight legs or in a deep squat position, does this happen by itself or do you determine the height depending on the weight of the barbell?
In the clean and jerk, when I feel the lightness of the barbell, I sometimes fix the barbell on bent legs, but mostly on heavy weights I have to fix the barbell in a low half-squat, in which it is easier for me to control the barbell overhead and balance with it.
It's less than 100 days before the Olympic Games. What is the preparation plan? What will you focus on?
Immediately after the competition, with the coach Evgeny Shilov, we began to correct technique mistakes that prevented me from performing all attempts at the competition (fixation, working out a low catching position in power jerk). I do not think that we will somehow radically change the training program and the dynamics of the loads, we have worked out everything in this regard. Let's focus on two important points: we must address mistakes in technique and increase a result, since the total weight (248 kg) at the Olympic Games will be very small to compete for medals.
24 years old, weight category - 81 kg, coach - Vladimir Bolgarin
Snatch - 109 kg (gold)
Clean and jerk - 127 kg (silver)
Total - 236 kg (gold)
This is your first big victory. How do you rate your performance?
I am completely satisfied with my performance at this European Championship. I think that today: 109 kg in the snatch and 127 kg in the clean and jerk is a good result.
You fantastically saved one of your sets in the snatch ... have you had this before?
Yes, indeed, in the first exercise, 109 kg snatch, there was a curiosity. When fixing the bar over my head, I was pulled a little forward, and stepped forward, but was able to maintain balance, cope with excitement and lift this important weight. This is one of my mistakes, which sometimes shows up on large kilograms in this exercise. I'm working on this with my coach.
What are the next goals you set for yourself?
My next important goal is the World Championship. I really want to prepare qualitatively for these competitions and show solid kilograms. But one of the most important goals in my life today is to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games!
I wish the Ukrainian team good luck on the international weightlifting stage and continue to follow and enjoy their success !!!