Shock Martirosyan’s loss puts Ukraine at the top of European weightlifting medal table

Simon Martirosyan, multiple world record holder and one of the best prospects for Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020, suffered a shock loss in the men’s 109 kilograms at the European Weightlifting Championships in Moscow.

Her first bomb since 2015 left Dmytro Chumak in first place and gave Ukraine their fourth gold of the week, overall, which puts them above Bulgaria at the top of the medal table.

Martirosyan looked struggling from the start in his first appearance in 14 months, missing his first two snatch attempts before shedding his third at 190kg.

He didn’t start his clean, jerk attempts until everyone was done, but missed the three at 227kg.

The closest to a good lift was his last attempt, but after passing the bar over his head he lost control – and his European title.

Martirosyan is still expected to qualify for the Olympics as he was in a strong position ahead of today’s competition.

But if it is not fully in shape, Armenia will have to think carefully because it only has one place for men and one for women.

Chumak, 30, won his third European title at three different weights, 94 kg, 102 kg and now 109 kg.

He finished with 407kg, 28kg less than Martirosyan’s career-form, but enough to meet the challenge of Bulgarian Hristo Hristov, on 406, and Russian Timur Naniev, on 401.

Martirosyan’s teammate Samvel Gasparyan had already won the 102kg, taking Armenia to three gold medals in total.

Despite today's disappointment, Simon Martirosyan is still in a good position to qualify for the Olympics © Getty Images
Despite today’s disappointment, Simon Martirosyan is still in a good position to qualify for the Olympics © Getty Images

If Martirosyan had won, Armenia rather than Ukraine would be the favorites to finish at the top of the medal table.

Gasparyan, with 390 kg, led an Armenian double ahead of Armen Martirosyan – 380 – and Azerbaijan Dadash Dadashbayli – 379.

In fourth place was David Fischerov, who competed as Fischer for his native Austria but is now a Bulgarian citizen.

He had a career best total and was second in clean and jerk in his first appearance for Bulgaria.

Russia won their first gold of the week, after six lower podiums, when Darya Akhmerova won the women’s 87 kg.

It was his first competition for Russia, having won gold at the 2019 IWF World Junior Championships at this weight for Kazakhstan.

Akhmerova was late in the snatch but finished strong in the clean and jerk for a total of 246 kg, 1 kg more than Moldova’s Elena Cilcic.

Another Russian, Darya Riazanova, finished third with 240 kg.

The European Championships end on Sunday with the two super-heavyweight categories.

Lasha Talakhadze is a very hot favorite in the men’s event and Briton Emily Campbell has the highest total of women’s entries.

If Campbell wins, he will leave Great Britain with his best European Championship performance in 73 years.

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