Sofia 2024 Day 3: Konotop and Sahakyan on top in Europe once again. GETTY IMAGES

Returning European champions Kamila Konotop (Ukraine) and Gor Sahakyan (Armenia) defended their titles on Day 3 of the 2024 European Weightlifting Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Belgium's Nina Sterckx challenged Konotop in the snatch of the women's 59 kg category. The Ukrainian finished 2 kg ahead of Sterckx with 105 kg. France's Dora Tchakounte was third. The Belgian tried to fight for gold in the clean and jerk as well, but it was not to be.

She failed all three attempts and remained without a total. Konotop finished the clean and jerk with 125 kg and took all three gold medals with a total of 230 kg. Tchakounte finished with 217 kg and took the silver medal. Saara Retulainen of Finland was second in the snatch and third in the total. Romania's Andrea Cotruta took bronze in the clean and jerk.

Armenian weightlifter Gor Sahakyan. ESCS
Armenian weightlifter Gor Sahakyan. ESCS

Sahakyan had only two successful attempts in the evening session, but it was enough to win back-to-back European titles in the 67 kg category. He started well in the snatch, lifting 140 kg on his first attempt, but then failed twice at 143 kg. Sahakyan was third after the snatch, 2 kg behind Turkey's Kaan Kahriman and 1 kg behind Italy's Sergio Massidda. 

In the clean and jerk, Sahakyan waited for Kahriman to complete all three attempts and finish with a total of 310 kg (142+168), then lifted 171 kg on the first attempt to win the gold medal in the clean and jerk and in the overall. 

He had one more attempt at 173 kg but failed and finished the competition. Sahakyan's total was 311 kg, nine kg less than last year in Yerevan. Another Turkish athlete, Ferdi Hardal, finished second in the clean and jerk and third in the total.