Malta Weightlifting’s quest for Qualification for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 got off to a great start at the first qualifying event this past weekend. Yazmin Zammit Stevens and Kyle Micallef were the two athletes representing Malta at the Commonwealth Championships held in Penang, Malaysia. They were competing against 22 other countries, all fighting for a qualifying position at the 2018 Games, which are to be held in Australia.
First to take to the platform was Zammit Stevens, who had an excellent performance, despite it being her first major international competition. She completed all her snatch attempts to end with a maximum of 75kg. Following a stellar performance in the snatch portion of the competition, she kept the momentum going into the clean and jerk, making 2 out of her 3 attempts with her maximum being 91kg to give her a total of 166kg. This was an important milestone to reach for Zammit Stevens as, not only did it put her in 6th position out of a group of 11 athletes, but also earned her MQS for next year’s Mediterranean Games to be held in June/July in Tarragona, Spain. To add to this great achievement, by the end of her competition, she had also broken a total of 7 National Records in the 63kg category. Yazmin will now be preparing for the European Under 23 championships in Israel in the first week of December.
Kyle Micallef was next to perform. Having built confidence after his performance at the Rio Games in two previous competitions, he started well making 2 out of 3 of his snatch attempts and in the process, set a new National record in the 85kg category at 122kg. Following a good start to his competition, he left it until his last attempt in the clean and jerk to secure a total, making the lift at 149kg and finishing with a 271kg total which put him in 6th place overall out of 17 athletes. The performance was good enough to secure one of the qualifying places to the Commonwealth Games and set 3 new National records in the process, one of which stood for over 10 years. Over the next few months, he will be looking to maintain his position in the rankings and also aim to gain qualification to the Mediterranean Games next year.
The team was accompanied by Malta Weightlifting National Coach Jesmond Caruana who helped the athletes with their preparation leading up to the competition. Mr. Caruana was also appointed as technical official for both the Commonwealth Championships and the World Youth Championships, which were organized in conjunction.