Yazmin Zammit Stevens has made Malta weightlifting history by winning our first ever international Gold medal at the Vladan Milhajovic tournament in Serbia. She did this in an exceptional way, by not winning just 1, but 2 Gold over the past weekend.
This was Zammit Stevens’ 2nd time competing at the tournament. Last year, she won a bronze medal in the snatch phase of the event, which was a huge accomplishment for her as it had only been her second ever international performance. This year however, experienced and stronger than ever, Zammit Stevens fought hard to not only stand on the podium again, but to stand at the very top of it.
The competition included strong weightlifting countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Israel, Bosnia Herzegovina, Romania, Uganda, Slovenia and Serbia. The snatch phase of the competition proved it would be a very tough one, where despite lifting equal to her best ever snatch attempt at 79kg, this would not be enough to get a medal as it placed her in 5th place overall. Determined to make up a lot of ground, Zammit Stevens started her clean and jerk at the heaviest out of all the other competitors at 93kg, and went on to lift 96kg and 99kg successfully. The 99kg lift would prove to be the most important lift of the competition as it would be the lift to win not only clean and jerk gold, but most importantly she would win the overall title of best lifter at the competition. The successful 99kg was a national record and 1kg over her best ever attempt back in August at the Universiade Games. She finished with 225.94 points, with Israel finishing in second place with 223.99 points and Slovenia in third with 223.29 points.
This result brings a lot of pride and happiness to the MWA, who have been making a tremendous effort in preparing Yazmin and other athletes alike to put Malta on the weightlifting map.
Malta’s team at the event also included Vlad Baldacchino and Michael Fava who had their first international appearance at the tournament. Fava lifted a personal best snatch of 90kg and 115kg in the clean and jerk. He finished the competition with a total of 263.32 points. Vlad Baldacchino finished with a strong 115kg snatch and a personal best clean and jerk of 140kg. Baldacchino finished with 293.22 points
President of the MWA, Jesmond Caruana, was also at the tournament and gave a seminar for 2 days leading up to the competition. Caruana spoke about the rules and duties of being a technical official and also about general guidelines of executing a proper and professional competition. Additionally, he was the president of Jury during the competition on Saturday.