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European Open, Junior and Sub-junior Equipped Powerlifting Championships 3rd - 8th August 2021, Pilsen, Czechia



Who would have imagined that, after 18 months of lockdown, we would be on the brink of seeing some incredible powerlifting performances?  But this is exactly what we were about to witness at the start of this competition. These many months of isolation have been used as an opportunity to train, train and train,  and this has never been more apparent than it has been during the six days of this competition in Pilsen.  As we started the competition on Day One with the Sub-Juniors we were all set for a compelling week of entertainment …….


The European Open, Junior and Sub Junior Powerlifting Championships 2021 and what a stunning display of strength and expertise for athletes so young and many competing at this level for the first time.     With seven bodyweight categories over two days, the sessions started on Tuesday with a great Sub Junior Women´s session, bringing a fantastic start to the week.   Anita Kolesnyk of Ukraine, in the  - 63 kg category, took overall best lifter with 78.46 points.  Very close on her heels came fellow team member Veronika Bordiuh in the Under 57 kg category with 78.32 points.  In third place for best lifter and a very good day for Wiktoria Cichoka of Poland in the -52 kg category with 76.35 points.    


Wednesday began with Sub Junior Men in a session of excellent lifting.   Starting with the squats  extremely high standards prevailed, with phenomenal weights being lifted by 16, 17 and 18 year olds.  Valentyn Muntian, Illia Kuchma, Anatoli Zaiets, Oleksii Lisenko and Dmytro Vovchok were all outstanding in their weight categories.  And all from Ukraine.

In the Bench Press we saw some phenomenal lifting all round with Anatoli Zaiets and Olekssii Lisenko both of Ukraine and Jakob Zovodny of Romania, all pressing amazing weights.  And the Deadlift again produced another impressive performance from the Ukrainian squad. Remember the names of Illia Sytnik of Ukraine and Gabriel Rys of Poland, who doubled his deadlift opener from 100kg to 215kg.  Best lifters were first Illia Kuchma, -93 kgs,  second Oleksii Lisenko , -120 kgs and third Anatolii Zaiets, -105 kgs.

It was a sensational afternoon for the Junior Women.  Giving breathtaking performances,  World and European records were broken, and broken again.     Juliane Slettnes of Norway set a new world record in the squat and Zuzanna Kula of Poland set a 185kgs junior world squat record at a bodyweight of less than 47 kgs!

The bench press was equally stunning.  Again Zuzanna Kula smashed it with a new world junior record, with 110.5 kgs.  Anastasiia Antoniuk of Ukraine also set a new -69kg European Junior bench press record with 140 kgs.   And finally, the deadlift and again Zuzanna Kula set a new total world record with a stellar 455.5kg lift, remember, she only weights 46.93 kgs!  Agata Sitgo of Poland took the World Junior deadlift record with a 215kg lift.  And Juliane Slettnes broke the world Junior squat record with a 215.5kg lift.   It was a simply breathtaking afternoon from the Junior ladies, so many records broken, Kula breaking records in two disciplines.  Best lifters went to Zuzanna Kula of Poland, second Agata Sitko of Poland and third Juliane Slettnes of Norway.


Thursday saw no broken records but nevertheless a fascinating and compelling day with the Junior men.  During the morning session we saw sound performances in the squats from Andrei Georgescu of Romania in the -53kg category, Viliam Kovac of Czechia in the -59kg category , Radoslav Debicki of Poland in the -66kg category and Hubert Konczak of Poland in the -74g category.    Then came the Bench Press and with exemplary performances from Daniel Michalak,  Dmytro Lenko, Ludvik Moen and Ondrej Sip.  The deadlift – both classes went right to the very end with the drama building throughout.   .  

The afternoon session got underway with the Junior men -105 kg, -120 kg and +120 kg weight categories.  The squats were all contested with Mateusz Szymkiewicz taking gold for the 105 kg category, Dimitro Holinei of Ukraine in the -120 kg and Dominik Plaskonis for Slovakia in the +120 kg.  In the bench press, golds were won by Mateusz Szymkiewicz in the 105 kg category, Martin Prokop of Czech Republic in the -120 kg and Jakub Krakowian of Poland in the +120 kg categories.    The deadlift ended with a close fought battle in all weight categories with Martin Marsik of Czech Republic, -105 g, Dimitro Hollinei -120 and Dominik Plaskonis +120 taking the golds.  Overall champions for the afternoon were Szymkiewicz, Hollinei and Plaskonis.  This brought to an end the Juniors and Sub Juniors competitions for this event.  A very enjoyable few days with some phenomenal lifting and great entertainment from these youngsters.  They are the future of European powerlifting, and we will see them in a few years competing in the open classes.


Friday, and what a record breaking morning session this was in the Ladies Open up to and including 69 kg body weight.   In the Squats, we saw a fantastic head to head with the gold going to Tetyana Shlopko of Ukraine in the -47 kg class.  Anastasia Derenyanko of Ukraine took gold in the -53 kg class and Hilde Mikkelsen of Norway took the gold in the -57 kg class.  And in the -63 and 69 kg classes, Sonja-Stefanie Krueger of Germany set a new open world record whilst still a junior, lifting 240 kgs.  And Katherine Bak of Denmark also took a new world record.  It was a very close run for the silver between both Norwegians and Ukraine with Antonina Marchenko of Ukraine setting a new European record lifting 248.5 kgs in the -63 kg class.

The Bench press section saw some solid lifting in the -47, -52 and -57 kg classes and in the  -69 kg classes, another World Junior record for Sonja-Stafanie Krueger with 172.5 kgs, followed by a new World Open record in Round two with 178 kgs. 

Last, but certainly not lease, the Deadlift section,  and in the - 57 kgs category, Eva Buxbom of Denmark achieved a new World Record after the 3rd round lifting 185 kgs.  As a Masters Two lifter and over 50 years old she took gold in an open competition.  Congratulations and respect to Eva!  And another world open record in the -69 kg category for Kathrine Bak , again from Denmark with 232.5 kgs.  Also in -69 kgs Sonja-Stefanie Krueger, Germany,  set a new World Junior record lifting a total of 610.5 kgs.  All in all a fantastic morning for the Open ladies!

The afternoon came and it was time for the men to showcase their strenth.  Some great lifting in the Squats from Hassan El Belghiti of France and Mariusz Grotkowski of Poland in the lighter weight categories.  The -83 category yielded little success on third attempts but nevertheless, some impressive weight lifting.  

Bench Press and the tension built throughout with some fascinating performances.  Bench press ended poised for a Deadlift grand finale and we were not disappointed.  A stunning display of strength by El Belghiti lifting a massive 310 kgs in the -66 kg category.    Todays champions were Pavel Osmilowski in the -59 category for Poland, Hassan El Belgetti in the -66kg for France, Pardeep Kailey, of the Netherlands, -74 kgs and Vladyslave Chornyi of Ukraine in the -83 kgs category.  And here ended an amazing day of Open Powerlifting in Pilsen.


Saturday brought yet another fantastic first session of the day with the cream of the best female powerlifters in the world, all competing at an extraordinarily high level.  On this day, the records were flying out and once again it’s the females that are sending them flying!  In the -76 kg squats, a new World Junior Record for Daria Rusanenko of Ukraine with 240 kgs and a European Open Record for Tetyana Melnyk also of Ukraine lifting 260 kgs.  This nation can do no wrong this week!

In the -84 kg squats, the ladies just kept on smashing the records.  Heidi Hille Arneson took a new world record with 240 kgs .  But a big disappointment for Soelie Jonsdottir of Iceland, the big favourite in the 84+ category .  She just couldn’t make a total with 3 no lifts, sadly having a really bad day. 

Bench press and Tetyana Melnyk took a new -76 kg world record with 189 kgs and in the 84+kg category, Heidi Hille Arnesen again took the World Masters record with 147.5 kgs.  What fantastic lifting Heidi!  World record squat, now world record bench press as well.  Also we have a new personal best for Ielja Strik, 84+ kgs of Netherlands with 180 kgs.  All in all, quite sensational bench press performances. 

Every day we´ve seen the ladies breaking records and they’ve all been quite fantastic performances.  And in the Deadlift, what an amazing -76 kg class with a new European Total Open record for Tetyana Melnyk of Ukraine.  In the -84 kg class Heidi Arneson set a new World Masters 2 deadlift record with her 190 kg opener and if that wasn’t enough, 200 kg in the third round.  Best total medals went to Tetyana Melnyk with 661.5,  Anna Soelie Heranger with 630 and Ielja Strik with 630.  Best female lifter over the two days was earned by Laryssa Soloviova of Ukraine.

The morning´s exciting record breaking was a warm up for the gripping tension of the Men´s Open competition in the afternoon.  What a spectacular session the Squats was.  Four lifters each lifted more than 400 kgs each and Nicki Lentz Neilsen of Denmark with the support of his squad in the audience, took a new world record in the -93kg category with 400 kgs in the second round. 

Then for the Bench Press and incredible weights were being lifted by all.  Kostiantyn Musiienko achieved a new world record in only his opening round, with still two more lifts to go.  Musiienko already held the world record for Bench Press and he soon briefly held  a new record after the first round with 326 kgs.  But this was still only the first round!  And unsurprisingly, he went on to smash his own record in the second round with 341 kgs and again in the third round with 351 kgs.  Quite an unbelievable performance from this young man, who is still only 24 years old!

On to the Deadlift and some off-the-scale lifting that just got better and better.  In the -93 kg class, Konstiantyn Musiienko set a new world total record in all three rounds ending with a winning total of 1051. Between them, Rysiyev and Musiienko broke a total of 5 world records! How good are these two Ukrainians with only .5 kg separating them after Round 2.  What a battle!  Overall Best total was won by Konstenyn Musiienko with 1051 and Danylo Kovalov, with 1020, both of Ukraine.


And the final day brought an exciting final session with the Men´s Open -120 kg and 120+kg categories.   Certainly the tension built after a slow start in the Squats when we saw problems for many in getting the depth required but Julian Johannsson, 120+ kg,  came through in the second round to become a real player and in the third round Andreii Shevchencko, 120+ kg, lifted a massive 450 kg in this dramatic first session which started off badly and finished brilliantly.  At the end of the Squat session, gold went to Sofiane Belkezir of France in the -120 kg category and in the 120+ kg category Shevshenko of Ukraine took the gold.

Moving into the Bench Press section and in the 120+ category only one athlete succeeded in the first round and that one athlete was Tobias Zingerling of Germany.  All changed in the second and third rounds and the session ended with Marius Hole of Norway winning the gold in the -120 category, with 335 kgs and Andreii Shevchenko of Ukraine taking the gold in the 120+ category with a 340 kgs bench press.

Finally, in the Deadlift section, Julian Johannsson of Iceland lifted a massive 390 kgs in the second round but sadly failed to set a new record in the third round with a 420.5 kg no lift.  After an absolutely incredible round of lifting, in the -120 kg category, gold went to Oleksandr Rubets of Ukraine  and in the 120+ kg category,  the gold was won by Julian Johannsson with his second round 390 kg lift.

After this stunning day overall total medals were won by Oleksandr Rubets and Andreii Shevchenko, both of Ukraine, and then the Ukrainians also earned the three Best Lifter awards – Konstientyn Musienko in the -93 kg category,  Volodymi Rysiyev, also in the -93 kg category and Oleksandr Rubets in the -120 kg category. 

What an absolutely extraordinary week of incredible sports performances this has been. We have seen Olympian lifting in Pilsen this week.  What do these athletes have in store for the future?  There appears to be no limit on what they bring to the competitions.  During the past week we have seen no fewer than 50 new European and World records, and 32 of these have been set by women!  What amazing Girl Power we have seen this competition!   Indeed, what amazing performances we have witnessed from all the athletes here with week, from the sub-juniors to the open classes, where we have also seen Masters lifters performing at Open level,  great entertaiment and breathtaking skill and strength from all! 

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