Greek women lifters doing all the hard work so far at European Championships

The national weightlifting team continued its sturdy showing at the ongoing European Championships in Loutraki, west of Athens, yesterday, with two further medals to its tally, again from a female team member, as competition continued. Competing in the 75-kilogram category, Christina Ioannidi won a gold in the clean-and-jerk with a 135-kilo lift, as well as bronze for her overall performance of 237.5 kilos. She ranked sixth in the snatch with a 102.5-kilo performance. Ioannidi narrowly missed earning the silver for her overall performance. Her 237.5-kilo performance leveled Bulgaria’s Rumenova Petkova, but the latter’s lighter body weight gave her the silver medal. Teammate Giorgos Tzelilis, a silver medalist at world championship level, was due to go into action, in the 69-kilogram category, late last night. A day earlier, Anastassia Tsakiri, a world-title and world-record holder back from a recent knee injury, won two gold medals and a silver in the 63-kilogram division. Hariklia Kastritsi, a silver medalist at last November’s World Championships in Warsaw, won a bronze in the 58-kilo category. Commenting after her performance, Ioannidi expressed satisfaction. «I put in lots of work and managed,» while admitting that her gold metal in the clean-and-jerk came as a surprise. «I had set a 135-kilo lift as my objective and, from then on, let things sort themselves out,» she added. Turkey’s two-time Olympic champion Halal Mutlu moved up a division for this event, from 56 kilos to 62 kilos, but that did not stop him from further glory. Mutlu won his division’s three gold medals, lifting 145 kilos in the clean-and-jerk, 175 kilos in the snatch, and 320 kilos overall. In total command, and not even needing a third attempt in the clean-and-jerk, Mutlu appears headed for a new world record, for overall performance, very soon. Two more of the national team’s female members are scheduled to compete today. Heavyweights Vicky Kassapi and Katarina Rhodite, both 20 years old, will compete in the 75-kilo-and-over division. Kassapi, currently in fine form, can be considered a medal contender. Though the gold is probably beyond reach, the athlete will likely strive for silver. The field includes Polish world champion Agate Frobel, while formidable competition should also come from Russia’s Albino Hometz. «I’ll be aiming for a place in the top three. I’ve trained well and must now lift those weights,» she said. Rhodite, who noted that the prospect of competing before a home crowd had put her in a sound frame of mind, will strive to equal what she lifts during training. Her objective, she said, was a place among the top six.