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European Championships: Muskett wins first Great Britain Gold in 26 Years

Great Britain’s Emily Muskett has become the first British European Senior Weightlifting Champion in 26 years after an electrifying showcase of strength saw her secure Overall Gold in the Women’s 71kg class in Moscow, Russia.

European Championships: Muskett wins first Great Britain Gold in 26 Years

Muskett, who competes internationally under her maiden name of Godley, snatched Silver in the first stage lifting 98kg to draw level then clean & jerked an amazing 129kg to take Gold in the second stage. That produced a total of 227kg to win Gold overall as well.

The last British weightlifter to be crowned as a European Senior Champion was The Magnificent Myrtle Augee who won her second continental title in the Women’s 83kg+ category at Beersheba, Israel, back in 1995.

A spectacular showdown in the Russian capital saw Muskett write her own place in sporting history and continue Great Britain’s return to the upper echelons of the weightlifting world.

Alessia Durante of Italy won Silver overall going six from six to pose an early challenge with 219kg  and Bronze went to Raluca Olaru of Romania on 98kg.

Muskett opened her account in style with smooth 94kg lift on her first attempt snatch. She then tried to follow that up with 97kg which just got away from her, but then she hit 98kg, just two shy of her British record to draw level with Olaru and take Silver at the break.

When it came to the clean & jerks Muskett was in the league of her own. She was the last one to take to the platform after all but one attempts had been taken by rest of the field.

The 2018 Commonwealth Champion secured the title courtesy of her first attempt of 122kg. She followed that up with a strong 129kg, but missed out on a British record on her last lift after failing to clean 132kg.

Today’s performance keeps Muskett in the hunt for Tokyo 2020 Qualification as she racked up more Robi points.

Olympic slots are highly competitive in the Women’s middle-heavyweight categories due to 71kg and 81kg classes not being contested in Tokyo.

As a result three groups of athletes are fighting it out to try and get into the condensed 76kg category.

The dynamic Robi points system allows scores to be carried across categories, but athletes are required to compete twice in their Tokyo category which Muskett had already achieved.

The IWF are expected to amend the qualifying system to take into account the impact of Covid-19, but no athlete is expected to be negatively impacted by these changes.

Prior to this event Muskett was outside the global Top 8 in the 76kg category required for Tokyo due to the tightly contested field, but this performance will increase her score and potentially bring her into contention for the additional continental slot or a wildcard.  

However, despite the tough challenge, Muskett has performed resolutely throughout the qualification period so far.

After becoming Commonwealth Games Champion in 2018, she started her journey towards Tokyo by winning Silver at the 2019 European Championships in Batumi, Georgia lifting 216kg. 

In 2019 she won an Arafura Games multi-sport event title in Australia lifting 207kg. Then moved into the 76kg class to take Commonwealth Championships Gold in Samoa with a total of 220 and, before heading to Pattaya where she became the first British Weightlifter in 25 years to medal at the World Championships by winning clean & jerk Bronze en route to fourth overall with a British record total of 226kg.

Later that year Muskett then went on to medal at the Tianjin World Cup in China lifting a new record of 231kg before moving up and winning Gold at the Australian Open hitting 223kg in early 2020 prior to Covid-19 halting events.

Following the postponement of the Olympic Games last year, Muskett continued to train hard and was recently announced as part of the England Weight Lifting Training squad with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on the horizon.

Today’s result saw Muskett become only the 10th British weightlifter in history to win overall Gold at the European Senior Championships.

She joins a legendary list of British European Weightlifting Champions which consists of Julian Creus (1948), Jim Halliday (1948), Ernest Peppiatt (1949), Louis Martin (1959, 1962, 1963, & 1965), Pauline Haughton (1988), Marie Forteath (1988), Judy Oakes (1989 & 1990), Jeanette Rose (1991), and Myrtle Augee (1993 & 1995).

Earlier in the week Sarah Davies won three Silver medals in the Women’s 64kg category Zoe Smith finished sixth in the Women’s 59kg competition.  

Emily Campbell who be competing on Sunday morning at 11am BST.

You can watch all the action live online via the Eurosport player on Amazon Prime. A live scoreboard is also available to view here


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