At the European Open, Junior and Sub Junior Equipped Powerlifting Championships in Thisted, as always, the event started with the Juniors and Sub Juniors. There were many new PB´s for the Sub Junior women and a new European Sub Junior deadlift record of 163 kg for Gracie Besant of Great Britain. The diminutive Khrystyna Ulianyk of Ukraine, at only 30 kg bodyweight, and Eerika Palosaari of Finland also gave impressive performances. Best team trophy was won by Ukraine and best lifter was Sofiia Stanko of Ukraine. In Sub Junior men there were only 8 lifters from two nations Ukraine and Poland. Vasyl Zbandut of Ukraine achieved a new PB in squats with 308 kg. He failed to make a lift in bench, but he did, however, go on to take the gold in deadlift. Best lifter was Mykola Hodunov of Ukraine and best team, Ukraine.
On to the junior men and Oscar Dahlkvist of Sweden powered through from nowhere to take the deadlift silver with a new 285 kg personal best in the -83 kg class. In the -105´s, Knut Einar Skaar of Norway lifted 30 kg over his starting PB with a 362.5 kg squat. In Bench, Mark Dolzhenko of Ukraine went right to the brink with three no lifts in Bench until the jury overturned his third no lift, making him the winner in bench with 250 kg. But the name to remember throughout this epic junior session was undoubtedly 21 year old German Moritz Taschner, a giant of a man who secured gold in all three disciplines and scored a total of 1020, giving him total gold. Best junior men´s team was Ukraine, Champion of Champions, Knut Skaar. Junior women, and there was a big Ukrainian presence with lots of personal bests in all disciplines. In the -76 kg squats, Juliane Sletness of Norway improved her PB by 17.5 kg to 240 kg and in deadlift she again gave an outstanding performance. Right up to the last lift Juliane finally wrenched gold from the hands of Italian Eleonora Pontini of Italy after a four hour session of outstanding powerlifting with close battles, stellar performances and an incredible finish. The emotional Victory Ceremony was concluded with Emily Finnern of Germany winning Champion of Champions and Ukraine taking the trophy for the best team.
On to the Open competitions, and again stellar performances with new PB´s for a great many of the athletes. Blanka Bartonkova of Czechia and Catherine Hoaresmith of Great Britain both pulled off amazing finishes in the 57kg Open deadlift. Blanka Bartonkova literally came from nowhere to achieve a 465 kg total in the 57 kg class. There was lots of drama at the beginning of the day for the 63 and 69 kg classes, losing four athletes and leaving only three in the running for the 69 kg title, which eventually went to Jenny Johansen of Norway with 570 kg, silver to Holly Bryant of Great Britain with 557.5 kg and Ines Kahrer of Austria, bronze with 550 kg. In the 63kg class Larysa Soloviova of Ukraine gold, Radostina Lulova of Bulgaria silver and Marthe Tjelte of Norway, bronze. The -84 kg women provided a fantastic start to the sixth and final day of the competition with a new Open/Junior Squat record of 276 kg from Ukrainian Darya Rusanenko at only 77kg body weight and at 22 years old, still a junior. And another record by Heidi Hille Arnesen who set a new World M2 Squat record in the -84 kg class with 252.5 kg. Gold medal in the 84+ squats was won by Soley Jonsdottir, again, a 22 year old junior, she just gets better and better. In deadlift, another World M2 record from Heidi Arnesen – this time the total record of 607.5 kg! The -84kg champion was Anna Heranger of Norway, with Soley Jonsdottir champion in the 84+ class and Champion of Champions, Laryssa Soloviova of Ukraine. Best Team, again, Ukraine.
In the men´s Open Competition, Hassan El Belghiti of France opened with a 290 kg squat in the 66kg class and literally powered through to the championship from that point. Finnish Antti Savolainen had a great day too in the 74 kg class. The 83 kg was a stunning competition with drama and excitement throughout and ending with Kjell Bakkelund of Norway, the new champion. In the men´s 93 and -105kg classes we were treated to some of the biggest names in European powerlifting here in Thisted. The untouchable Konstiantyn Musiienko of Ukraine won gold in squat, bench and deadlift in the 93 kg class and total of course. In the 105´s, it was Nicki Lentz of Denmark who took squat gold, Oliver Dahlkvist of Sweden winning bench and Asgeir Hoel of Norway winning deadlift with the total gold going to Oleksandr Rubets of Ukraine. And finally, the last session of these championships – the -120 and 120+ men and what an exciting session it was, with an exceptionally high standard of lifting from all the competitors. Dramatically, Orhan Bilican of Belgium was injured in the first round of 120+ squats whilst attempting to squat a massive 420 kg in the first round. This accident took him out of the competition and off to the hospital. Our thoughts are with him and EPF send him our best wishes for a speedy recovery. After losing two more athletes in bench, it was down to 4 contenders for the 120+ title. In -120 kg, total gold went to Sofiane Belkesir of France 1045 kg and 120+ total gold was won by Christoph Seefeld of Germany with 1012.5 kg. This day produced totals of over a thousand, showing a year on year improvement in standards. The best male open team was Ukraine and best male Champion of Champions, Konstiantyn Musiienko of Ukraine. Konstiantyn was also presented with the Best Lifter Award of 2022, calculated from his total points in world and European events in the past year.
Thank you to our amazing sponsors Eleiko, Rogue, SBD, Maniak Fitness and Hansu Power for their support and generosity without which we would not be able to stage such competitions and of course thank you to our wonderful streaming crew without whom we would not be able to bring the sport to the world!