Pielieshenko, Valentin Win Gold At 2017 IWF European Championships

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In of the most thrilling matchups of the 2017 IWF European Championships so far, Oleksandr Pielieshenko of Ukraine captured the men's 85kg division gold medal over Russia's Artem Okulov with a new U23 European-record snatch of 175kg on Thursday in Split, Croatia.

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This matches Pielieshenko's competition PR from just last year in Rio at the 2016 Olympics. At the Games, he took fifth overall with a 175kg/385lb snatch and 210kg/462lb clean-and-jerk. Earlier that year at the European Weightlifting Championships, Pielieshenko won gold with a 168kg/370lb snatch and 204kg/449lb clean-and-jerk to finish with a 372kg total.  

On Thursday, Okulov came in right behind Pielieshenko's winning total of 386kg to take silver with a 377kg. Okulov earned gold in the clean-and-jerk with his 212kg/466lb lift; however, he went 1 for 3 in the snatch, only hitting his opener at 165kg/363lb.  

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At the 2016 Euros, he had a tough battle with his Russian teammate and former Olympic silver medalist Apti Aukhadov (85), who was banned from international competition in October and stripped of his medal after his doping samples from the 2012 London Games were reanalyzed and tested positive for steroids.

One of the most well-known female weightlifters in the world right now, Lidia Valentin (75, Spain) won her third gold medal overall at the European Weightlifting Championships after posting a 115kg/253lb snatch and 137kg/274lb clean-and-jerk on Thursday. Her 137kg lift was only her second attempt in the clean-and-jerk.

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In fact, there was a 14kg difference between Valentin and Mariia Vostrikova (75), who took silver. This follows Valentin's previous performance on the big stage in Rio, where she won bronze with a 116kg/255lb snatch and 141kg/310lb clean-and-jerk to end with a 257kg total.

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