1st Uzbekistan International Online Cup
Australian weightlifters Eileen Cikamatana and Matthew Lydement performed brilliantly in the 1st Online International Cup celebrating the Independence Day of Uzbekistan. Organised by the Uzbekistan Weightlifting Federation with assistance from the IWF, this event unfolded on screens around the world last weekend as 100 competitors participated from their home countries via the Zoom Video Conferencing platform.
Despite having the highest Entry Total in the 81kg category, Eileen was scheduled to lift in the B Group to give her a start time of 4:00pm, Friday instead of joining the 81kg A Group, starting at 11:00pm local time, on Saturday night.
Lifting at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra and assisted by Lyn Jones and Charisma Amoe-Tarrant, Eileen posted a year-best Total of 260kg, consisting of 115kg Snatch and 145kg Clean & Jerk. This was more than enough to win the 81kg category, with Chirinos Dayana of Venezuela second with 246kg, and Alina Marushchak of Ukraine in third place with 242kg.
On Saturday morning Matthew Lydement stepped in front of the camera at the Cougars Weightlifting Club in Brisbane, to compete in the 109kg category B Group. With Coach Damon Kelly in the wings, Matthew succeeded with all six of his attempts to achieve 162kg in the Snatch, 184kg in Clean & Jerk and a new Personal Best Total of 346kg, finishing in 5th Place.
The lifters and coaches were surprised at how quickly the competition progressed, using the “Round” format, but for the Technical Officials, including Australians Pedro Sanchez, Phil Maunder and Lilly Coffa, and the production and technical crew, of which Bowen Stuart was an important part, many hours were spent glued to computer screens day and night, throughout the event.
With online competitions such as this one hosted by the Uzbekistan Weightlifting Federation, the sport of weightlifting is overcoming many of the restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as more of these real-time online events are conducted, they will become more sophisticated in their presentation and more efficient in their execution. Who knows? Online weightlifting may still be with us long after this pandemic is just a memory.