The annual European Union Weightlifting championship, held in Waterford Ireland, saw a record amount of participants this year from all around Europe. Participants came from Ireland, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Estonia, Denmark, Great Britain, Croatia and Malta. The Maltese team was formed by 13 year old Tenishia Thornton, 13 year old Rylee Borg and 16 year old Shelby Mangion Vassallo.
The highlight of the event came with Malta’s first ever bronze medal at this meet won by Tenishia Thornton, who is practically a veteran on the international platform by now. She competed in the U15 age group where she challenged athletes from Estonia, Croatia, Austria, France, Denmark, Great Britain, Hungary Spain and Poland. The Polish and Spanish athletes found themselves in a head to head battle for the Gold and left the bronze medal open to any of the other incredibly strong competitors. Thornton found herself battling for every last kilo to come back home with a medal, and even though it was very close, she came out on top. She finished in 3rd place with 189.6 Pts followed by the Hungarian lifter with 188.4 Pts and all other following competitors only separated by less than a point. She also set new records in the EUWC in the 45kg category with a total of 122kg.
The youngest of the Maltese team, Rylee Borg, had a tough preparation leading up to this meet as he was challenged with an injury in the prior weeks. However, he managed to finish with a PR snatch of 56kg and a Clean and Jerk of 70kg.
Shelby Mangion Vassallo was the last athlete to compete from the Maltese contingent. Unfortunately, due to feeling slightly unwell in the days leading up to the meet, her coach made the decision not to push her limits on the day. She finished with a respectable 54kg snatch and 69kg clean and jerk in the U17 age group.
The team was accompanied by national team coach, Jesmond Caruana and by Ramona Borg who was chosen to be an official during the championships.
The investment being done towards strengthening the youth athletes by the MWA, MOC and SportMalta was very prominent in this meet. The MWA is incredibly proud to bring home a medal from such a prestigious competition and will continue to work for bigger and better results from their youngsters.
In the EUWC congress it was approved that the European Union weightlifting championships 2020 will be organised in Malta.