History of Malta Weightlifting

Olympic Weightlifting in Malta 1975 Local History

Malta Amateur Weightlifting Association Even though weightlifting is widely considered as a new sport locally, it certainly is not. The first recorded events of Olympic weightlifting in Malta date back to right after the Second World War, when English service men brought the sport to the island. The first club, situated in the Sliema School, was registered under the name of ‘Malta Premium Physical Culture Club’ and was actually registered with the British Amateur Weightlifting Association. At that time, weightlifting was a mixture of gymnastics, hand balancing, strength feats and bodybuilding. The Maltese showed interest and in the fifties this sport flourished. But the common practice of immigration at the time drove many lifters away from our islands leaving this sport to die a natural death.

It was one of these same immigrants, Charles Mifsud, who decided to return to his homeland and build a solid foundation for the sport of weightlifting in Malta. In the early seventies, Mr.Mifsud achieved the title of Australian National Champion in his category several times. It was disappointing for him, on his return here, to find that no official recognition to his sport existed and no association was registered within the Malta Olympic Committee. Thus the man who will always be known as the ‘father of weightlifting’ in Malta embarked on a mission to create the Malta Amateur Weightlifting Association. The Association was set up in 1975 and was formally recognized by the International Weightlifting Federation at the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976.

Competitions Apart from local competitions and exhibitions held regularly around the island, the M.W.A. successfully organized several International competitions, which apart of having the aim of increasing the popularity of the sport, gave a lot of international exposure both to our athletes and officials. The following is the list of competitions organised by the M.W.A in the past thirty years:

1981 3rd European Small Nations Tournament

1983 Commonwealth Championships

1988 Commonwealth Championships

1990 12th European Small Nations Tournament

1990 Junior European Championships

1993 Friendship Games (Malta – Tunisia – Sicily)

1995 17th European Small Nations Tournament

1999 European Promotion Cup

1999 21st European Small Nations Tournament

2003 25th European Small Nations Tournament

2004 Commonwealth Championships

2005 27th European Small Nations & 1st Charles Mifsud open Tournament

2008 Friendship Games (Malta – Sicily)

2009 31stEuropean Small Nations & 2ndCharles Mifsud open Tournament

2010 5th Mediterranean Cup

2013 35th European Small Nations & 3rd Charles Mifsud open Tournament

2015 9th Mediterranean Cup

2016 3rd European Union Cup & 1st Malta international open

Local Lifters From time to time this sport manages to yield individuals who make their mark and even fair well internationally. Fist weightlifter in Malta that achieved international success was Charles Azzopardi. Leonard Farrugia also attained significant results internationally. Charles Callus obtained the best junior lifter at the very first Small Nation Games held in San Marino in 1985. Richard Attard and Ian Grech obtained bronze medals in their respective categories at the prestigious Welsh tournament, the Silver Dragon in 1994. In the same competition Simon Brincat acquired the silver medal in his category. In 1999 Michael Micallef earned the Best Lifter award in the Small Nations Tournament held locally. Micallef also established new records in this same tournament in the 56kg category with 90kg Snatch, 110kg Clean & Jerk and a total of 200kg. During that period the best athletes showed and achieved their best results after persevering training during their yearly preparations. Mike Micallef, Kevin Cassar and Noel Coliero were awarded and received a medal for such determination. This was a proud moment for these athletes as no other Country ever achieved and won both championships since the founding of the ESNT. Kevin Cassar completed his preparations for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002 after achieving the qualified standard for the games. This was another milestone for the MAWA as the association had an athlete representing it for the first time at these Games. Noel Coleiro obtained the Best Lifter award in the Small Nations Tournament held locally in 2003. In 2004 Noel Coleiro obtained bronze medal in his respective category in the Welsh Silver Dragon tournament. That same year, the female side of this sport received a boost when Rodienne Mifsud received the bronze medal in the Commonwealth Championships. Sadly, by the end of 2004, the Malta Weightlifting Federation received a blow when its founder, the President Mr. Charles Mifsud, passed away. Mr. Mifsud will always be remembered for his exceptional contribution to this sport.

Luckily the fruit of his labour still flourishes today and is still progressing and continuing to bring success to this sport.

In 2006 Lindsay Borg qualified to represent Malta in the Commonwealth Games in Sydney, Australia. She finished in 4th place overall, a very successful finish and a proud moment for Weightlifting in Malta. That same year, Kevin Cassar established new records in the European Small Nations Tournament held in Cyprus in the 85kg category with 120kg Snatch, 146kg Clean & Jerk and a total of 266kg.

In 2011 Rodmar Pulis obtained bronze medal in Juniors and Silver medal in Youths in the 77kg category in the Commonwealth Championships in Cape Town. 2013 a successful year for Rodmar Pulis when he qualified to represent Malta in the Mediterranean Games in Mersin. 2013 another milestone for Malta weightlifting when Rodmar Pulis qualify to represent Malta in the Universiade Games in Kazan.

In 2013 Nicole Gatt obtained bronze medal in the 53 kg category youths in the Commonwealth Championships in Penang, Malaysia.

In 2014 Jessica Edge qualified and represented Malta in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Scotland. In 2014 Nicole Gatt Participated in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing China. She lifted in the 53 kg category.

In 2015 Kieran Mifsud Qualified and Participated in the Youth Commonwealth Games in Apia, Samoa. He lifted in the 94 kg category and placed fourth. In the same year he ranked in 20th place in the IWF world youth rankings 94kg category.

In 2016 Kyle Micallef was the first Maltese weightlifter that participated in the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, He competed in the 85kg Category.

2017 Yasmin Zammit Stevens, -63kg, was the first female for Malta to participate in the European Senior Championships in Split, Croatia. She finished with 74kg snatch, 90kg clean and jerk and ranked 15th overall. She was accompanied by Kieran Mifsud who lifted in the 105+kg category who finished with 127kg snatch and 160kg clean and jerk 2017 another milestone for Malta weightlifting when Yasmin Zammit Stevens qualify to represent Malta in the Universiade Games in Taipei. She finished with 74kg snatch and 98kg clean and jerk in the 63kg category. She ranked 19th overall. 2017 Kieran Mifsud (-105kg) and Kyle Micallef (-85kg) represent Malta in the Commonwealth Championships in Gold Coast Australia. Mifsud finished with 130kg snatch and 170kg clean and jerk. Micallef finished with 121kg snatch and 152kg clean and jerk.

In 2017 Kieran Mifsud and Yasmin Zammit Stevens qualified for the Commonwealth Games in Australia. These Games brought a different qualification system where only 14 participants from all commonwealth countries per category could qualify. Both Mfisud and Zammit Stevens automatically qualified as they ranked 12th and 11th respectively in the overall commonwealth ranking (1 per country) in their category. 2017 Yasmin Zammit Stevens won Malta’s first female Gold medals at the Vladan Milhajovic tournament in Serbia. Zammit Stevens lifted in the 69kg category and finished with 79kg snatch and 99kg clean and jerk. She won a gold medal for her clean and jerk and total finish. 2017 Kieran Mifsud represented Malta in the European Junior Championships in Albania in the 105kg category. He finished with 131kg snatch and 171kg clean and jerk 2018 Zammit Stevens went on to represent Malta in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia 2018 where she finished in 7th place overall in the 63kg category with a 79kg snatch, 95kg clean and jerk and 174kg total. 2018 Yasmin Zammit Stevens qualified for and represented Malta in the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona, Spain. She competed in the 69kg category and finished with 80kg snatch, 105kg clean and jerk and 185kg total. She finished in 5th place in the snatch and 6th in the clean and jerk.

The Presidents of Malta Weightlifting since 1975

Since its formation in 1975, several individuals served on the committee of the M.W.A.:

Mr. Charles Mifsud the Founder and President till his passing away in 2004.

2005/2006 President Mr. Alfred Ellul Mercer

2006/2009 President Mr. David Saliba

2009/ to present President Mr. Jesmond Caruana

Mr. Jesmond Caruana is also very active in International Weightlifting and he was elected in many different Committees.

2018 Elected Vice-President in the Mediterranean Weightlifting Confederation  2018 -2021
2018 Elected Vice-President Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation  2018 -2022
2017 Elected President of the European Union Confederation 2017-2020
2016 Elected General Secretary of the European Small states  2017-2021
2016 Elected Vice-President of the European Union Confederation 2016-2020
2016 Elected in the European Weightlifting Federation as a member in the technical Committee 2016-2020
2014 Elected Executive board member in the Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation  2014 -2018
2013 Elected Executive board member in the Mediterranean Weightlifting Confederation  2013 -2018
2012 Elected in the Technical and Scientific committee of the  European Weightlifting Federation 2012-2016
2012 Commonwealth Weightlifting appointed as technical delegate for the continent of Europe.
2009  Elected International Sport School member in the Mediterranean Weightlifting Confederation 2009-2013