Weightlifters show promise before Beijing

Displaying promise ahead of the upcoming Beijing Olympics, the Greek national weightlifting team won 11 medals at the European Union Championships in Forst, Germany. The Greek men’s team finished third in the competition’s overall rankings and the women’s team ended fifth. Germany won the men’s event and Poland triumphed in the women’s competition. The national team’s performance was particularly encouraging given the entry of Bulgaria and Romania, both traditional powers in weightlifting, to this latest edition of the EU Championships. Among the Greek team’s top performers was the 23-year-old athlete Natalia Tsoulia, who won three gold medals in the women’s 75-kilogram division. She lifted 95 kilograms in the snatch, and 110 kilograms in the clean and jerk. «I wanted to lift more kilograms, but it doesn’t matter, I’ll accomplish this at the European Championships next month,» said a beaming Tsoulia following her success in Germany, who had stopped competing for two years but made a comeback last year at the National Championships. Other medal winners for the Greek team included Christos Saltsidis, who ended up with two silvers and a bronze in the men’s 94 kilogram division. In other Olympic sports, the Greek synchronized swimming team narrowly missed out on a medal at the European Championships. The Greek team ended fourth after a mistake at the beginning of its routine cost it a medal. «We made a major mistake at the beginning. You can’t win medals when you make mistakes such as these. The judges were right, and if we were better, we would have won the bronze medal,» noted the team’s coaches Anastassia Gustcheva and Albena Mladenova. «The girls lack experience. They have a lot to learn. They will mature and bigger successes will come their way.» Spain won the gold medal, Italy won the silver and Ukraine the bronze.

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