The 2015 European Weightlifting championships: The Women

The 2015 European Weightlifting Championships

Part I: The women
Andrew “Bud” Charniga

The 2015 European Weightlifting Championships were held in Tbilisi the capitol of modern Georgia. The sports palace located in the city center proved to be an excellent facility with training facilities conveniently located in the same building. A number of past champions, apart from those already on hand as officials, were present at the competitions: Yuri Zakharevitch, Kaki Kakiashavillis, Ilya Ilyn, Ruslan Albegov, Rafael Chimishikyan. This group included Yuri Vardanyan currently the Armenian ambassador to Georgia.

In the wake of the recent German documentary about corruption in the RUSADA system of doping control, there was obvious speculation as to why the Russians entered what was at best a ‘B’ team. Unfortunately, this topic created a cloud over what would otherwise be an exciting event.

The gut reaction most people have when doping positives are announced is that everyone is cheating and weightlifting is a dirty sport. On the other hand when one hears of virtually no doping positives in violent contact sports such as the National Football league, the National Hockey League and others, a false assumption is created these professional sports are ‘clean,’ But just the opposite is true. The testing in these sports is either phony or lack the strict protocols established by WADA. Sports that are serious about testing find positive those who not are not the athletes who have a real problem with doping.

That being said, it always a good idea to educate oneself by keeping up with current events and new protocols if for no other reason other than to be properly informed.
The European Weightlifting Federation sponsored a doping seminar during the championships. A number of important topics were discussed.

The number of tests the IWF has conducted so far this year is very high relative to any sport. A graph was produced showing the distribution of testing: Europe and Asia each have more than ten times the tests of the Americas. “Target” testing, especially crucial for no notice out of competition protocols, is a new step in sophistication. There will be more effort to obtain good intelligence by especially encouraging athletes, coaches and the newly introduced concept of the athlete’s entourage to report suspected usage.

The entourage is a new focus for punishment of the coaches who administer these substances and even the extended family. For instance, it was pointed out that Abadzhjiev (BUL) has been banned from even attending IWF competitions.

There are currently 15 positive cases; two have been settled. Thirteen are still ongoing. The speaker showed some interesting data. Some testing of 634 over the counter supplements revealed 94 would produce a positive result. An example of the contents of a container of creatine was presented. The contents listed were creatine and dextrose. This supplement produced a positive result for substances like norandrosterone. The levels in urine were relatively high.

The question was raised: Is it difficult to distinguish between doping for clenbuterol (commonly used to fatten cattle) and contamination from red meat? The speaker could not answer fully because it is a complex issue. However, not surprisingly, logical inference plays a role. China and Mexico have been identified as two trouble spots for clenbuterol contaminated meat.

There was one positive in the Beijing Olympics for clenbuterol. It was concluded since many people ate in the same dining hall with the one positive; the athlete was suspended. It was pointed out the four positives for clenbuterol at the 2014 world championships were all staying at the same hotel and eating in the same dining area. The complexity involved here is further impacted by the fact that the athletes were from two different countries.*

Other examples were put forth. For instance, an entire Russian junior team tested positive for clenbuterol at a junior meet in Mexico. It was decided the cause was contamination. Likewise, the IOC investigated a slew of positives for clenbuterol from a soccer tournament in Mexico with the same resolution.

Although the WADA protocols have grown in sophistication, a few manage to find cracks to slip through. For instance, it was suggested the rule stipulating when an athlete misses a test three times over a period of 12 months, the athlete is out; this rule has holes in it. The suggestion was to change it to six months. For example, when testers are sent into North Korea, a visa is required which of course can be relayed to an athlete that testers are coming. So, a “clever” athlete can avoid testing and still avoid a ban over a twelve month period, but this is highly unlikely over a six month period.


Jong Hwa Ri (PRK). Charniga photo

*On April 24 the IWF announced that the remaining cases have been closed. However, in one of the four cases from Almaty involving clenbuterol, it was declared that “the IWF Hearing Panel has decided that no suspension shall be applied in the case of Ms. Jong Hwa Ri;” however, “in line with Article 9 of the Code and IWF Anti-Doping Policy the Panel had no choice but to the disqualify her results from the 2014 World Championships. The Athlete is eligible to compete and shall be treated accordingly.”

48 kg

The pretenders of this class were: Ozkan Sibel (TUR) 179, Taylan Nurcan (TUR) 178, Pagliaro Genny (ITL) 176, Michel Anias (FRA) 174, Csengeri Monica (ROU) 174.

Csengeri Monica (ROU) made a rather small hop forward, sinking low to fix her 1st at 76. Michel Anias (FRA) followed with same weight keeping her feet pretty much in the same line. The 2004 Olympic champion and first female to snatch double bodyweight Taylan Nurcan (TUR) sat low and fast after a big arm bend with 77. Ozkan Sibel (TUR) popped her feet wide with a single movement 79. Michel Anias (FRA) hopped forward and dropped 79 backward. She just sat without really moving her feet on her third with the same weight without success.


Taylan Nurcan (TUR). Charniga photo.

Pagliaro Genny (ITL) pulled back and sat back, but she was unable to fix 80. Csengeri Monica (ROU) made a huge and uncoordinated hop forward with 80 without success. Taylan Nurcan (TUR) pulled 80 with a big hitch at mid – thigh; it was not even close. Starting from a low squat with erect trunk, Ozkan Sibel (TUR) hopped back slightly for another single motion success with 80. Pagliaro Genny (ITL) pulled her 2nd at 80 by hopping back a little; this time fixing it well. A huge, in relative terms, hop forward was simply not a feasible strategy for Csengeri Monica (ROU) to make 80.

After her miss at 80, Taylan Nurcan (TUR) jumped to 81; pulling smoothly without a hitch above the knee level, she sat very low and very fast for a good lift. Ozkan Sibel (TUR) pulled long but sat so slowly her 81 fell backwards. Jumping to only 81, Pagliaro Genny (ITL) dropped under very fast it to move into first.

Csengeri Monica (ROU) cleaned 92 well, stepping forward to save the jerk. Taylan Nurcan (TUR) pulled 94 without a hitch and jerking in a shallow split. Michel Anias (FRA) dropped very fast under 94 and jerking with relaxed hands, she drove the barbell strictly vertical. Pagliaro Genny (ITL) made an easy opener with 95. Csengeri Monica (ROU) just managed to step under 96 after jerking it way forward. Michel Anias (FRA) was lucky to fix 96 after a slow half squat bend and slow split. Taylan Nurcan (TUR) struggled to stand with 97 before jerking in a shallow split.

Pagliaro Genny (ITL) stepped back with 98 before waiting a long time to jerk too far forward. Csengeri Monica (ROU) jerked 98 with an incredible waste of energy by jumping forward at least 15 cm before jerking it forward. Michel Anias (FRA) managed an altogether slow 98 with slight a press out. Pagliaro Genny (ITL) cleaned 98 ok, but she jerked too far forward. Ozkan Sibel (TUR) had to chase her 99 jerk almost to the front edge of the platform before getting the barbell under control. Taylan Nurcan (TUR) failed to shoulder 99. An anti-climatic 100 dropped on the champion Ozkan Sibel (TUR) after which she passed her 3rd attempt.

53 kg

The pretenders of this class were: Paratova Julia (UKR) 200, Schwarzbach Julia (GER) 186, Coban Aysegul (TUR) 184, Hernandez Atenery (ESP) 183.

Last year’s champion Coban Aysegul (TUR) hopped back with her 1st at 75. Schwarzbach Julia (GER) made 78 with a slight backwards foot movement. Coban Aysegul (TUR) just pulled 74 on her second and dropped it backwards on her 3rd. Hernandez Atenery (ESP) pulled and dropped with very little movement of feet with 80. Schwarzbach Julia (GER) pulled straight and dropped fast with 81. Both heels raised, not once but twice as Hernandez Atenery (ESP) struggled to finally control 83. Schwarzbach Julia (GER) succeeded with a slow 84. Hernandez Atenery (ESP) pulled well and sat low before dropping 84.


Paratova Julia (UKR). Charniga photo

Paratova Julia (UKR) pulled 87 with a big hitch at the thighs and jumping back. She pulled her next with 90 around her knees for an easy lift. Although plenty strong, poor technique is no substitute as she let her 3rd with 93 float backwards.


Coban Aysegul (TUR). Charniga photo

After cleaning 95 slowly, Hernandez Atenery (ESP) split wide in the jerk. She followed with 98, pausing a long time before jerking it easily. Schwarzbach Julia (GER) jerked 99 well after an easy clean. Hernandez Atenery (ESP) struggled to clean 100 but split wide for a good jerk. Schwarzbach Julia (GER) cleaned 101 slowly yet scissored her feet very quickly in the jerk.


Schwarzbach Julia (GER). Charniga photo.

The leader after the snatch Paratova Julia (UKR) cleaned 103 with a big arm bend and jerking it very easily. Schwarzbach Julia (GER) completed a six for six day with another good lift at 103. Coban Aysegul (TUR) pulled 105 back, hopped back and then jerking very strong. Paratova Julia (UKR) made a big jump back at 106 and an effortless jerk. Buried after the snatch, Coban Aysegul (TUR) hopped back before jerking a little forward with 107. She followed herself with 109 by jerking so far forward she was lucky to save it. Looking good for much more the champion Paratova Julia (UKR) jerked 110 with ease.

58 kg

The pretenders of this class were: Kostova Boyanka (AZE) 246, Lepsa Irina (ROU) 205, Klejnowska Alexandra (POL) 202, Grishina Natalia (RUS) 201.


Comparison of knee angle before fixing 101 kg by 58 world champion DENG Mengrong (CHN) with Kostova Boyanka (AZE) and already fixed 100 kg. Charniga photos.

Former senior world champion Klejnowska Alexandra (POL) was the first of the leaders up with smooth slide back lift at 85. Grishina Natalia (RUS) made a fast hop forward with 87 followed by Klejnowska Alexandra (POL) who made another smooth lift with the same. She made her third at 84 with a classic Polish pull by sliding back and sitting low. Lepsa Irina (ROU) hopped forward with 90 and slowly let it drop backwards. Grishina Natalia (RUS) sat low after a smooth pull and slight hop forward with 91. Lepsa Irina (ROU) jumped to 91; this time she hopped forward sitting very low before getting control.

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Kostova Boyanka (AZE) and Klejnowska Alexandra (POL). Charniga photos.

Grishina Natalia (RUS) finished three for three in the snatch with another Russian pull and hop forward, low squat with 93. Lepsa Irina (ROU) repeated her hop forward but crumbled with her 3rd at 94.

Now began the first three of six problematical lifts.

Kostova Boyanka (AZE) began after eight of the top nine female 58 kg lifters in Europe had finished all of whom had to drop into a full squat to make or try to make each lift. Kostova power snatched 100 kg, which is approximately 173% of bodyweight, stopping the descent in the squat above parallel. She followed this with 105, barely descending below parallel. Her third with a new European record 109 was an actual full squat snatch but nonetheless performed with minimal effort.

Klejnowska Alexandra (POL) made a smooth Polish pull in the clean at 108 with a step forward in the jerk. Grishina Natalia (RUS) made the same 108 with no problem. She then hopped forward and jerked way forward with 111. Lepsa Irina (ROU), hopping forward with 112, jerked it straight up and slightly back. Klejnowska Alexandra (POL) bounced twice as she struggled to stand with 112 before stepping through to save a forward jerk. Grishina Natalia (RUS) was not close to jerking 112. Once again struggling to stand and jerking a little forward, Klejnowska Alexandra (POL) managed to save 113.


Lepsa Irina (ROU). Charniga photo.

Lepsa Irina (ROU) hopped forward with 114 before jerking it vertically and well behind the head. She tried hopping forward slowly to shoulder 121 without success. After seeing the next best lifter Lepsa get buried trying to shoulder 121, the sight of Kostova Boyanka (AZE) squatting to just above parallel with 125 got your attention. The jerk was without technique. Stopping at parallel in the clean, Kostova Boyanka (AZE) made another no technique jerk with 132. Her third, a no technique jerk at 137 for another European jerk and total records, was unnatural by far and too easy for such a big weight. Kostova’s results in recent competitions are presented in the table. The reader can decide.

Table. Kostova Boyanka (AZE) results in recent competitions.

Year Comp Bdwt. Place S J T
2015 EUR 57.84 1 109 137 246
2014 WWC 52.66 7 91 109 200
2012 XXX Olym 56.93 5 105 128 233
2012 EUR 57.25 1 98 117 215
2011 WWC 52.96 8 92 108 200

63 kg

The pretenders of this class were: Kalina Yuliya (UKR) 238, Likhacheva Nadezda (RUS) 223, Bordignon Giorgia (ITL) 214, Lomova Nadezda (RUS) 0.

Bordignon Gioprgia (ITL) sat fast with 93 without moving the feet. She struggled to control 97 with another good lift. Likhacheva Nadezda (RUS) hopped back, squatting low with 100. Without much movement of the feet in the squat, 100 was no go for Bordignon Giorgia (ITL). Lomova Nadezda (RUS) struggled to control 101 in the low squat before her left arm and shoulder buckled. A questionable decision to send her back out for a second resulted in a shoulder separation. Kalina Yuliya (UKR) made a fast drop to just above parallel with 103. Likhacheva Nadezda (RUS) had to pause several seconds after sitting low with 105.




Kalina Yuliya (UKR),  Likhacheva Nadezda (RUS) and  Bordignon Gioprgia (ITL). Charniga photos

Dropping fast and lower than her first, Kalina Yuliya (UKR) made another good lift at 106. Likhacheva Nadezda (RUS) hopped back with some resistance to sinking low in the squat at 107 and was without success. Kalina Yuliya (UKR) had 110 up in a low squat, but like most Europeans she encounters too much resistance to sink to the bottom which in this case caused her to drop it.

Bordignon Giorgia (ITL) made a strong no foot movement clean and a solid jerk with 109. She muscled up 112 in the clean on her 2nd then jerked this weight very solidly. Her 3rd with 117 was the same except she jerked forward by having to step through to save it. Likhacheva Nadezda (RUS) made a smooth hop back clean and then a classic Russian jerk with 118. Kalina Yuliya (UKR) jerked 124 with a classic split after an easy clean. After Likhacheva Nadezda (RUS) made another very smooth hop back clean with 125. She inexplicably dropped the weight after seeming to have it firmly fixed overhead. Kalina Yuliya (UKR) made another fast clean and powerful jerk with 127. Likhacheva Nadezda (RUS) jumped to 130. She struggled with the clean so much there was nothing left to jerk it.

Kalina Yuliya (UKR) made a very strong clean and a fast, wide split in the jerk with 132 which was five kilos less than the 137 muscle clean and muscle push jerk in the 58 kg class.

69 kg

The pretenders of this class were: Sazanavets Dzina (BLR) 255, Kondrashova Lana (RUS) 235, Ibrahimli Anastassiya (AZE) 233, Shkermankova Marya (BLR) 232, Kasirye Ruth (NOR) 232.

Shkermankova Marya (BLR) hopped back slightly without reaching the low squat with 98. Kondrashova Lana (RUS) hopped back and descended slowly with 98. Kasirye Ruth (NOR) pulled in 99 without moving her feet. Kondrashova Lana (RUS) made another hop back and slow drop under with 101. Ibrahimli Anastassiya (AZE) pulled 103 so far forward she ended up dumping it off the platform. Shkermankova Marya (BLR) pulled smoothly and sitting quickly with 103. Kasirye Ruth (NOR) sat low with the same 103 for another easy lift. Ibrahimli Anastassiya (AZE) had to take two steps forward to save another forward pulled 103.

Kondrashova Lana (RUS) made a very smooth hop back lift with 105. Kasirye Ruth (NOR) had to sit with 105 before finally getting it under control for three good lifts in the snatch. Ibrahimli Anastassiya (AZE) had 106 briefly in the low squat before dropping forward. Sazanavets Dzina (BLR) hopped back and sat low with 107. Shkermankova Marya (BLR) had the same 107 up but couldn’t sink low to fix it. Sazanavets Dzina (BLR) made another fast pull sitting low with 110. Having already won gold in the snatch, she jumped to 115 and had to sit for several seconds to control it for a good lift.


Ibrahimli Anastassiya (AZE) cleaned 120 easily and jerking in a shallow split. Kasirye Ruth (NOR) hopped forward with 121 before jerking in a wide split. Kondrashova Lana (RUS) hopped back with 122 before jerking with a slow split. Shkermankova Marya (BLR) cleaned 123 very easily followed by a mechanical but good jerk. Kasirye Ruth (NOR) had to stop in the bottom before standing with 125. She jerked forward but compensated with a wide split for a good lift. Ibrahimli Anastassiya (AZE) made a very strong jerk with 126 after a struggle to stand.

Kondrashova Lana (RUS) hopped back with 126, and she jerked it with a shallow split but leaned forward enough to save it. Shkermankova Marya (BLR) made another extremely easy clean and a step back to save the jerk with 127. Kasirye Ruth (NOR) split wide and stepped under a 127 3rd attempt to go six for six. Shkermankova Marya (BLR) clean and jerked 129 looking good for much more. Sazanavets Dzina (BLR) hopped back to clean 130 jerking it with a fast, wide split. Ibrahimli Anastassiya (AZE) almost dumped 130 off her chest while standing; she jerked way too far forward; however, nonetheless, she somehow managed to step under it. Kondrashova Lana (RUS) struggled to stand before splitting wide with 130. Sazanavets Dzina (BLR) cleaned with a fast low squat before making a fast and wide split in the jerk with 135. She made 140 look the same with an easy clean and fast jerk.

75 kg

The pretenders of this class were: Valentin Lydia (ESP) 263, Nayo Ketchanke Gaelle (FRA) 248, Pachabut Darya (BLR) 247.

Nayo Ketchanke Gaelle (FRA) hopped forward without sitting low with 105. She followed this with 108 by pulling fast but lacking flexibility. Pachabut Darya (BLR) hopped forward with 110 without dropping very low in the squat. Nayo Ketchanke Gaelle (FRA) did not hop as far forward but dropping faster and lower for a good 111. Competing with little competition and practically no pressure, Valentin Lydia (ESP) caught 112 at about parallel. The feet of Pachabut Darya (BLR) remained in about the same line as she dropped lower but without hitting bottom at 113.


Valentin Lydia (ESP), Pachabut Darya (BLR) and Nayo Ketchanke Gaelle (FRA). Charniga photos.

Yanking 116 off the floor, Valentin Lydia (ESP) should have made it had she sank lower in the squat; instead she dropped it in front. Pulling long and sitting slow, Pachabut Darya (BLR) managed 117 after pausing a few seconds to get her balance. Valentin Lydia (ESP) turned 118 over faster at about the same height of squatting as the previous attempt for a good lift. Pachabut Darya (BLR) cleaned 125 slowly and next splitting in the jerk quickly, but inexplicably she dropped the weight forward. Repeating with the same weight she pulled very long catching the weight high in the squat before struggling to hold the jerk. She hopped forward with her final at 130 then made a concerted effort to push the weight behind her head for a good jerk.

Nayo Ketchanke Gaelle (FRA) hopped forward to clean 132 then jerked slightly forward but splitting very wide to save it. Valentin Lydia (ESP) made a routine for her opener with 135. Nayo Ketchanke Gaelle (FRA) cleaned 137 easier than her first; she jerked it forward again but split wide enough to step under it. Valentin Lydia (ESP) made another routine 141 stepping forward under it. Nayo Ketchanke Gaelle (FRA) made a huge hop forward with 142 which forced her stop at the bottom before standing. She had nothing left for the jerk. With all the golds in hand, Valentin Lydia (ESP) nonchalantly texted a message before coming out to drag 145 to her chest then muscling the jerk.

+75 kg

The pretenders of this class were: Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) 322, Lysenko Anastasiia (UKR) 280, Aanei Andrea (ROU) 261. This class was a cake walk for Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) as was the previous class for Valentin Lydia (ESP).

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Aanei Andrea (ROU) 115 1st attempt was an easy power snatch. Lysenko Anastasiia (UKR) pulled 116 slowly and dropped slowly for a good lift. Aanei Andrea (ROU) made another hop back power snatch with 120. Pulling 121 with the left side of the bar tilted at a rather substantial angle, Lysenko Anastasiia (UKR) dropped it forward. She forced herself into a low squat on her 3rd for a good lift. Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) dropped to a little below parallel to fix her opener at 127. Aanei Andrea (ROU) did a pull with 127. Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) power snatched 137 on her 2nd. She hopped back and sank below parallel with her 3rd success at 142.

Aanei Andrea (ROU) opened with a power clean and fast jerk at 136. Her second with 141 was pretty much the same. Taking only 142 for her third, she power cleaned then jerked the weight too far back. Lysenko Anastasiia (UKR) cleaned 143 well following with an awkward push jerk. Employing the “dive” style start, she jumped to 154 and barely managed to muscle the jerk. Kashirina Tatiana (RUS) made an easy hop back clean and a classic Russian jerk with 162 to secure all three golds. She jumped 10 kg to 172 with another hop back easy clean, but the jerk was slower. She started to show the strain in both parts of the exercise with her final lift with 180.

It is worth noting that only six athletes in the entire competition, one each at 69 and 75 and four at +75 kg, were able to clean and jerk more than the 137 registered by the 58 kg Kostova Boyanka (AZE).