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Weightlifting: 11th Indian Ocean Islands Games 2023 – Madagascar |06 May 2023

Weightlifting: 11th Indian Ocean Islands Games 2023 – Madagascar

Mr Kodjabaschev with SWA chairman Robert Rose, lifters and coaches at the Gordon Square weightlifting gym (Photo: Roland Duval)

Triple world champion Anton Kodjabaschev assess local lifters prior to 11th Games

As part of its ongoing preparations for the forthcoming 11th Indian Ocean Islands Games 2023 scheduled to take place in Madagascar from August 23 to September 3, the Seychelles Weightlifting Association is benefitting from the knowhow of three-time world champion, Bulgarian Anton Kodjabaschev, who is here to assess the ability of local lifters, before handing in a detailed report, including a proposed training plan prior to the Games.

Mr Kodjabaschev’s one-week visit has been materialised through cooperation between the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation, and the sport’s local governing body, through the National Sports Council (NSC).

Speaking to Sports NATION, chairman of the Seychelles Weightlifting Association (SWA) Robert Rose said, with his accumulated experience, since weightlifting is now more science-oriented, Mr Kodjabaschev is the ideal person to assess local athletes prior to the 11th Games, while his final report will consist of a proper training plan to be executed during a proposed forthcoming training camp in Bulgaria.

In terms of training plan, Mr Rose said they have just entered the intensive preparation phase, with all releases for athletes finalised.

He said, despite a bit behind, he is confident that with proper training, our lifters can produce good results in Madagascar.

Mr Rose also explained that even if a total of 18 lifters may have the opportunity to represent the country, the Madagascar Games will not be a matter of filling available spots, but rather based on the athletes’ performances during the preparation.

He also explained that compared to past local selections, the SWA is now working with a new group of young athletes and it will take a while before their performances match those of past lifters.

Mr Rose said the transition process has attracted a lot of female lifters, while they are still looking for male lifters to fill the void left by past athletes.

He said as part of the drive to attract more youngsters into weightlifting, the SWA has already opened a new training centre on Praslin, under the responsibility of ex-lifter Frank Accouche.

He explained that the process is long-term, and it is also a step forward in seeking the country’s first Olympic medal.

Still in regards to the IOIG, Mr Rose said preparation is very costly and they are negotiating with the authority for further financial assistance, especially in the area of nutritional supplements, along with other products which are crucial in preparing lifters for competitions.

On his part, Mr Kodjabaschev said he is satisfied with the training observed so far, but however noted that in terms of training methods, he is here to bring on new and modern approaches which are presently being practiced worldwide.

He said since some athletes are students, while some are working, not all of them get adequate time to train, especially as a team, and as solution, Mr Kodjabaschev proposed that training camps are the best way to prepare the athletes, not only physically, but also mentally, bringing them closer together as a team.

At the last IOIG held in 2019 in Mauritius, Seychelles’ weightlifting team won a total of 35 medals – 9 gold, 11 silver and 15 bronze.

The gold medalists were Clementina Agricole (3 in the women’s 59kg), Romentha Larue (3 in the women’s 87kg), and Steven Baccus (3 in the men’s 102kg).

The silver medals were won by Chakira Rose ( 3 in the women’s 87kg), Joelita Coloma (1 in the women’s 81kg), Anisha Valmont (1 in the women’s 81kg), Dereck Come (1 in the men’s 96kg), Terrence Dixie (2 in the men’s 109kg), Elvis Simeon (1 in the men’s +109kg), and Rick Confiance (2 in the men’s 73kg).

As for the bronze medal winners, they were Joelita Coloma( 2 in the women’s 81kg), Brenda Lozaique (3 in the women’s 76kg), Romeo Simeon (1 in the men’s 81kg), Angelo Servina (2 in the men’s 81kg), Terrence Dixie (1 in the men’s 109kg), Cyrous Farabeau (3 in the men’s 89kg), Rick Confiance (1 in the men’s 73kg), Dereck Come (1 in the men’s 96kg), and Hansel Bristol (1 in the men’s 109kg).

Meanwhile, female lifters Joelita Coloma and Ruby Malvina will leave the country soon to compete at the African Weightlifting Championships scheduled for Tunis, Tunisia from May 11-20.

A third lifter, namely Romantha Larue, who was part of the team, has been pulled out of the competition due to an injury.

The event which will be hosted by the Weightlifting Federation of Africa (WFA) is also part of the qualification process for African countries at the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad which will take place in Paris, France from July 26 to August 11, 2024.

At last year’s competition, Coloma who competes in the 76kg category, won three silver medals after snatching 80kg and lifting 100kg in clean and jerk for a total 180kg, while Malvina, despite finishing fourth overall in her category, her performance of 105kg in clean and jerk was enough to earn her a gold medal at the African Nations Cup which was taking place simultaneously.

As for Larue, she won three bronze medals in the +87kg category where she snatched 87kg and lifted 111kg in clean and jerk for a final total of 198kg, earning her the third place overall.


About Anton Kodjabaschev

Born on August 22, 1959, Anton Kodjabaschev is a former Bulgarian weightlifter who was the world bantamweight champion in 1979, 1981 and 1982.

He started weightlifting as a teenager and developed into a world-class athlete in the era of coach Ivan Abadiev at the Chernomurets Burgas sports club in the late 1970s. He was an employee of the Bulgarian railways, but was able to concentrate fully on weightlifting training.

The start of his international career took place in 1978. That year he took part in the Junior World Championships in Athens, Greece but had three failed attempts at the bantamweight snatch, so he remained unplaced. He was still used at the European Championships that year in Havířov, where he scored 232.5kg (102.5 – 130) in a flyweight duel. With this performance he took fourth place. At the 1978 World Championships in Gettysburg, USA he also started at flyweight. He scored 225kg (100 – 125) in a duel, which was only enough for ninth place.

In 1979, he started again at bantamweight. In this weight class he set a new world record in a duel at the V. National Spartakiade in Sofia, Bulgaria with 265kg (117.5 -–147.5). At the 1979 European Championships in Varna he came with 262.5kg (115 – 147.5) and this achievement won him the European title ahead of Poland’s Dembonczyk with 260kg and I. Stefanowics from Hungary with 252.5kg.

Finally, Anton Kodjabaschev also triumphed at the 1979 World Championships which took place in Thessaloniki.

Competing in the bantamweight he scored 267.5kg (117.5 – 150) again a new world record and won before Valentin Weretennikow from the USSR (262.5kg) and Dembonczyk (260kg).

In 1980, he had bad luck with injuries and could not start at the European Championships in Belgrade and at the Olympic Games in Moscow.

Restored, he started in 1981 at the World and European Championships in Lille, where he won the bantamweight division with 272.5kg (117.5 – 155), just ahead of Andreas Letz from the GDR, who achieved the same performance, thanks to the slightly lower body weight.

In 1982, he repeated these successes in Ljubljana where he achieved the new world record of 280kg (125 – 155) at the World and European Bantamweight Championships, thereby again taking both titles ahead of Oksen Mirsoyan of USSR (272.5kg) and China's Wu Shute (270kg).

 After his international career was over, he continued to train and took part in many national competitions.

After the political change in Bulgaria in 1990, he immediately took the opportunity to move to western countries and from that point on he joined AC Soest in the German Bundesliga for several years.

In his very first competition for Soest, he showed that he was still a world-class athlete and scored 305kg (135 –170) in the lightweight division.

Upon returning to Bulgaria, Mr Kojabashev was initially a coach before being elected president of the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation in the late 1990s.



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