Weightlifters get medals in Croatia event
TIRANA, April 6 – Albanian weightlifters got medals in the European Weightlifting Championships in Croatia this week with Erkand Qerimaj managing to finish third overall in the men’s 77 kg.
The 28-year-old Albanian snatched 155 kg and clean and jerked 193 kg for a total of 348 kg to claim a bronze medal overall.
Daniel Godelli competing in the same 77kg category got gold in snatch for a 161 kg lift but managed to lift only 186 kg in the clean and jerk, finishing fourth overall.
In the men’s 69 kg, Albania’s Briken Calja got bronze in the clean and jerk for a 175 kg lift but failed in all three 145 kg snatch attempts.
Albania’s Evangjeli Veli and Romela Begaj finished fourth and fifth overall respectively in the women’s 53 kg and 69 kg.
All Qerimaj, Godelli, Calja and Begaj have previously been suspended over doping, with Godelli stripped of his 2014 world championship title, making Albania send one of its smallest team of athletes at the 2016 Rio Olympics due to bans.
Krenar Shoraj also made a good performance in the men’s 85 kg lifting a total of 348 kg, being the best among group B and C in his category in a result that is likely to be easily overcome by other Group A contestants.
Albania sent ten weightlifters at the Senior European Championships that is being held in Croatia’s Split from April 2 to 8.
Weightlifting has traditionally been Albania’s best performing Olympic discipline at international competitions. Ilirjan Suli finished fifth in the men’s middleweight category at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Romela Begaj was sixth in the women’s lightweight at Beijing 2008.
In 1972, late Ymer Pampuri set a world record at the Munich Olympic Games for the press at featherweight lifting 127.5 kg, finishing ninth overall following an injury. Pampuri who died last January at 73 has since been a world record holder in the clean and press which later in 1972 was removed from competition due to difficulties in judging proper technique and health concerns.