EWF Cup in Ancient Olympia (GRE): “It will be part of the sport’s history”
The first edition of the European Weightlifting Federation (EWF) Cup was successfully held last weekend in Ancient Olympia (GRE), the birthplace of the Olympic Games, and the privileged venue where the Olympic flame is lit before each edition of the Games. In this so special location, 20 mixed-gender multinational teams coming from twelve European countries and the IWF Refugee Team, each with two competitors (one female and one male), competed in the event. The teams were randomly selected in a drawing ceremony and were named after famous Greek ancient cities.
40 weightlifters from France, Great Britain, Germany, Israel, Moldova, Romania, Spain, Cyprus, Turkey, Bulgaria, Poland, and Greece evolved with enthusiasm in the new format competition. Furthermore, the presence of two athletes from the IWF Refugee Team (Addriel Garcia and Parisa Jahanfekrian) added relevance and global impact to the competition.
Parisa Jahanfekrian (second from the left) and Addriel Garcia (third from the right) were the representatives of the IWF Refugee Team
Saturday’s activities began in the morning with the first of five sessions. Each athlete had a five-minute window to complete the snatch, followed by a five-minute opportunity to complete the clean and jerk trying to achieve the best result through no more than three attempts per each style.
At the end of the day, Toma Loredana and Lucas Muller from Team Knossos clinched the top spot with an impressive 645.98 Sinclair points. They were closely followed by Hernandez Alba and Arthur Mugurudumov from Team Thiva, who secured 644.63 points. The third place was claimed by Team Athina, represented by Erin Barton and Hardal Ferdi, with a score of 643.54 points. Thanks to their performances, each of the teams got respectively 4’000€, 2’000€ and 1’000€ in prize money.
In terms of individual results, the best female athlete accolade was clinched by Toma Loredana from Romania, who showcased 278.59 Sinclair points. On the men’s front, Robu Marin from Moldova emerged as the best athlete with a leading score of 415.74 points.
All event participants got a unique opportunity to visit the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia. Moreover, delegates from the EWF paid special respect to the monument honouring Pierre de Coubertin, and olive trees were also planted on the International Olympic Academy’s famous soil.
The IWF Athletes Commission Chairman, Forrester Osei from Ghana, added to the event’s energy. Osei was essential in energising the crowd, interviewing athletes, and boosting the competitive spirit, together with Damjan Canzek from Slovenia and Alexandru Padure from Romania, both members of the EWF’s family.
Antonio Conflitti, the EWF President, addressing some words during the event
Before the actual competition was held, educational activities were carried out on Friday, in the presence of the EWF leadership, but also with the IWF First Vice-President Ursula Papandrea, the IWF Vice-President Pyrros Dimas, and the IWF EB member Florian Sperl in attendance. A special guest, Mr. Peter Brull, the Sports Director of the European Olympic Committees, honored the EWF with his presence and praised the steps taken by the weightlifting continental body for the development of the sport in the Old Continent.
The educational seminar sessions started with an inspiring presentation by Dr. Evangelis Albanidis from the Democritus University of Thrace on the “Humanistic symbolism of Olympia and the Olympic values”. Important information about general Anti-Doping topics and the prohibited substances list was provided by Ms. Sophia Manolopoulou – Head of scientific support and quality at the Hellenic National Anti-Doping Agency. The educational activities concluded with the intervention of the IWF Medical Committee Member, Dr. Georgios Tsikouris, who captivated the attention of the participants with the presentation and practical demonstration about arthroscopy for weightlifters with hip injuries.
Olympic champion Zygmunt Smalcerz, one of the event’s coaches, expressed his happiness at the end of the EWF Cup. “The commitment, the enthusiasm, and the spirit — it’s been an experience like no other. Olympia is a shining example of athletic brilliance once more. Weightlifting needs this,” he said.
The EWF President and IWF Executive Board member Antonio Conflitti also praised the outcome of the competition: “Probably the biggest success of this event is the unity that was achieved among the participants. It was wonderful to see a competitor from one country supporting a lifter from another country. It demonstrated once again that sport has no boundaries. I am grateful to everyone who recognised the significance of this event, 12 national federations, as well as to the IWF Refugee team who all participated at this event. EWF expresses its special gratitude to the International Olympic Academy who offered their resources to make the athletes’ dream a reality, to compete in Ancient Olympia, and to the Greek Weightlifting Federation for its great effort. The EWF Cup in Olympia has now become part of the sport’s history and heritage”.
The evening’s closing ceremony was graced by the mesmerizing performance of the dancers of the Dance Theater ART, renowned for their role in the various official ceremonies of the lighting of the Olympic Flame in Olympia. A poignant moment in their act was the representation of the athlete Bybon’s remarkable achievement dated in the 6th century B.C., where he lifted a staggering 143.5kg rock over his head, with a single hand, echoing the timeless spirit of Olympia.
Among the distinguished attendees were Fotis Kostarias, Vice Mayor of Olympia responsible for sports, the three-time Olympic champion Pyrros Dimas, and the leadership of the EWF, including Board Members and IWF representatives.
As host of the successful event, Mr Kostarias considered: “Olympia has once again proven to be the cradle of athletic excellence. This event has seamlessly blended our rich heritage with modern-day prowess.” Mr Dimas, a national hero in Greece, added: “To witness such an event in Olympia, where legends were born, has been an overwhelming experience. The future of weightlifting shines bright”.
Text and photos by EWF Communications