Another successful weekend for Maltese Weightlifting as a team of 3 athletes compete in an international tournament in Budapest, Hungary. 12 year old Rylee Borg, 16 year old Shelby Mangion Vassallo and senior athlete Matthew Abela were the three athletes representing Malta at the annual Soroksar Weightlifting Cup.
A total of 18 participating countries attended this tournament, which were Estonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Monaco, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Netherlands, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Switzerland and Malta.
This meet was the first International experience for both the youngster Rylee and senior athlete Matthew. Despite being one of the Maltese athletes who has been in the sport the longest, Rylee had never yet competed overseas. Since he turns 13 this year he could finally start competing as an U15 athlete and perform in international meets, as he has been steadily improving and performing like a weightlifting veteran in all his national meets throughout his already long career.
Borg, who attend the National School of Sport finished with an incredible clean card of 6 good lifts, a 58kg snatch and a 71kg clean and jerk. This total improves his previous best by more than 10kg from last January and also placed him in 3rd place overall in his age group. Gold and silver were both won by Polish lifters, however second place finisher only beat Rylee by 1 point. Borg managed o out-lift athletes from Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania and Czech Republic. Safe to say his first international experience has proved to be a very successful one and will most definitely not be his last.
Youth Olympian Shelby also had an excellent showing, finishing in 2nd place in the U17 group. She managed a 61kg snatch and after chasing it for some months now, she managed an 80kg clean and jerk. The athlete from Croatia lifted a total of 142kg beating Shelby by only a kilo. This was also the first International experience for senior athlete Matthew Abela. Despite being inexperienced on the international platform, he finished with a personal best performance lifting 78kg in the snatch and 100kg in the clean and jerk. The Maltese contingent were accompanied by national team coach Jesmond Caruana, who has had a very busy month of International competitions, and will in fact be flying out to Georgia this week again to accompany Zammit Stevens at the European Championships.
These championships could not be possible without the help of Malta Olympic Committee and SportMalta.