The Malta Independent 21 January 2020, Tuesday

Weightlifting: First competition of 2020 organised by Malta Weightlifting Association

Jesmond Caruana Monday, 13 January 2020, 14:23 Last update: about 8 days ago

With the New Year comes a new opportunity to start fresh. The Malta Weightlifting Association organises its first raking competition this weekend at the Cottonera Sport Complex. The meet is organized early in the year as selections for multiple international events will be made namely for the Malta International Open in February, European Small Nations, World Junior Championships and Soroksar championship in March as well as the European Championships and Commonwealth in April.

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After the first Ranking meet, Zammit Stevens, who is currently preparing to compete in her first Olympic Qualifier for 2020 in only 2 weeks in Rome, ended the meet with a respectable 187kg total; only 4 kg off her best. She also managed to equal her best Clean and Jerk at 107kg and had a great shot at 110kg on an extra attempt that ended overhead but got called out for a press out. Zammit Stevens is set to have the busiest year thus far with Olympic qualifiers in Rome, Malta (February), European Championships (April).

Thornton (-49kg), who dominated the youth and junior categories, is also preparing for other major international events coming up with a total of 119kg. Thornton now will be preparing for the Malta international open in February. She is currently doing her best in hopes of competing at the Junior World Championships next March, a competition Malta has ever seen any national athletes compete in.

Shaun Ciantar (-81kg) starts off 2020 on top of the Male ranking list with a 101kg snatch and a Clean and Jerk at 130kg, 4kg over his previous best, total points total 295. Anton Micallef (-89kg) finished with 233kg (280 points) which is far off his best after battling an injury in his knee for the past few months. Regardless he is still one of the favorites to make part of the national team for upcoming team events together with Ciantar.

One of the most impressive results of the day came from 13year old Rylee Borg (-61kg) The National Sports School athletes is basically a veteran in the sport, and performed like a pro on the day. He finished with a 1kg PR in the snatch at 64kg and a massive clean and jerk at 78kg which is also a 2 kg PR. He set the first national records for 2020 and also set the bar high for all youth athletes. Borg will be preparing for his upcoming international competition in March.   Another youth, 16 year old Tristan Zammit(109kg+) also had a promising start to the year with his 98kg Snatch and 120kg clean and jerk.

The competition saw many youth athletes participating, which was one of the main missions of the MWA in 2019, and will hopefully keep reflecting into 2020. The youth team is at its strongest in numbers at the moment. The MWA will be organizing the European Union Championships later this year where U20, U17 and U15 categories will be a part of the competition. Therefore, the youth team will be working hard in preparation for the international meet happening on our islands in June.

The attention now will be all on the Malta International Open, a silver qualifying event set to take place on Feb 28th and March 1st. The MWA is expecting 150 international athletes including Olympic, World and European Champions. The Maltese team participating at the event will be announced in the coming week along with the rest of the teams for other international competitions.

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