News and Media


The European Weightlifting Championships: A Brief History

The European Weightlifting Championships is one of the oldest annual events on the international sporting calendar…

The first edition was held in the Dutch city of Rotterdam in 1896 – the same year of the first modern Olympic Games. This landmark year for the sport laid the foundations for the rise in the global popularity of weightlifting in the years and generations to come.

After visiting the Austrian capital of Vienna in its second year, the Championships returned to the Netherlands, and stayed there, for the next seven years, with the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam all staging the event.

The Championships landed in Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Germany and Hungary in the following years before settling again in Austria for three consecutive editions, up until the start of the First World War.

Halil Mutlu

Halil Mutlu (56kg)


Since the event’s return to the calendar in 1921, it has never been staged in the same country two years in a row. It was not until after the conclusion of the Second World War that the event became a permanent annual celebration of Europe’s top weightlifters.

Since 1947, the Championships has visited 32 different territories and produced some incredible performances in the process.

In the European Weightlifting Federation records list, several benchmarks have been set at European Weightlifting Championships over the years.

In the men’s 105kg+ division, German Ronny Weller lifted a European record of 260kg in the clean and jerk in front of his home fans in Riesa in 1998.

Two years’ later, Polish lifter Szymon Kolecki produced a clean and jerk lift of 232kg in the 94kg category in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, while in 2001, Turkish athlete Halil Mutlu, in the 56kg division, set another European benchmark of 168kg in the clean and jerk at the Championships in Trencin, Slovakia.

Those records still stand to this day for European athletes, as does the feat of Croatian Nikolai Pechalov, who produced a total lift of 325kg in the 62kg category at the 2000 Championships in Sofia.

Ronny Weller

Ronny Weller (+105kg)

Nikolai Pechalov

Nikolai Pechalov (62kg)


While this year’s event in Bucharest, Romania, from March 26 to April 1, will be the 97th edition of the annual European competition for male athletes. For women, this will be the 31st edition of the annual event.

The inaugural Women’s European Weightlifting Championships took place in San Marino in 1988, but 10 years later, the women’s and men’s events came together to take place in the same city for the first time – Riesa in Germany. The dual Championships for men and women in the same city has continued to this day.

In the Polish city of Wladyslawowo in 2006, Russian Svetlana Shimkova set a new European best of 141kg in the 63kg women’s clean and jerk division, once again proving that these Championships are where records are made.

This year’s event will once again feature the continent’s best, with top lifters from across Europe ready to compete for a place on the podium across a total of 48 events.

Stay tuned for the results!

Follow IWF: