SOFIA — Armenian weightlifters had a 1-2 finish in European Weightlifting Championship in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia in which third and fourth places both went to individual neutral athletes from Belarus.

There was a tense head-to-head contest between Hakob Mkrtchyan and the double champion Davit Hovhannisyan in men’s 96kg, catagory.

When Mkrtchyan made all three clean and jerks for 166-209-375, Hovhannisyan had to make 210kg with his last lift for a third straight European title. He failed, finishing 169-205-374 for second place. Mkrtchyan, 26, was world and European champion at 89kg in 2019 but had not won since then, until tonight. Pavel Khadasevich made only two good lifts for 165-195-360, enough for third place ahead of his team-mate Yulian Kurlovich, who took clean and jerk bronze on 157-196-353. Tudor Bratu from Moldova may have to return to the podium on Monday after a good performance in the 102kg B Group.

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