October Digest: World Events for Inspiration

October Digest: World Events for Inspiration


I continue to follow the interesting things in the weightlifting world in general and the success of Ukrainian athletes in particular on the world’s stage. This digest contains a bit of motivation from Cameroon weightlifters and fresh October medals of Ukrainian athletes. Read on and get inspired!

Arnold Strongman Classic: Now in the UK

On October 3, the first Arnold Strongman Classic UK 2021 took place in Birmingham. For the first time in the history of the Arnold Sports Festival, it was held in the UK. 10 athletes competed, two of whom left the race for fear of injury – brothers Luke and Tom Stoltman.

In Hercules Hold, the leader was Mark Felix, the world record holder in this exercise. This time he did not break the record, but left his rivals behind with a result of 81.62 seconds.

In the next three exercises, Oleksiy Novikov, my compatriot, Ukrainian, was in the lead. Last year, due to injury, he was cautious in competitions and took only fifth place. Now he confidently walked towards victory:

Frame Carry – 7.35 seconds

Axle Bar Deadlift for Reps – 8 reps

Dumbbell Press – 8 reps

The best in the Atlas Stones was Andy Black, who moved five stones in 18.28 seconds. Novikov lost only 1 second to Evan Singleton in this exercise. And it became decisive.

In general, Oleksiy and Evan scored the same maximum number of points – 42. According to the tiebreaker rules, the participants’ results were compared in the Atlas Stones.

The winners of the tournament are:

Evan Singleton (42 points)

Oleksii Novikov (42 points)

Trey Mitchell (36.5 points)

Third place was also determined by tiebreaker – Trey Mitchell scored the same number of points as JF Caron.

But I am still pleased that the Ukrainian strongman practically won the first Arnold Strongman Classic UK 2021. It remains to work on Hercules Hold and Atlas Stones, in which he did not manage to break into the top three. For World Strongest Man 2020 and 2021, it’s a matter of time. Moreover, he has such a cool T-shirt: +100 to strength and endurance!

The Amazing Results of Athletes in Lapland

On October 3, the 2021 European Junior & U23 Weightlifting Championships ended in Rovaniemi (Finland). This was a long-awaited event, since last year’s championships were postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. But this year a lot of athletes took part and a struggle has unfolded in each weight category.

In total, athletes from 35 countries – 117 boys and 91 girls – took part in the competitions among boys under 23 years old, and 154 juniors and 118 juniors in competitions among juniors from 38 countries.

Two-time Olympic champion Lasha Talakhadze came to support the athletes. Another inspiration is the real Santa Claus! After all, Rovaniemi is his homeland, the capital of Lapland. Perhaps that is why there were some amazing events.

The team results of the competition are as follows:

Men’s JuniorWomen’s JuniorMen’s Under-23Women’s Under-23
2Ukraine (8 athletes)PolandUkraine (7 athletes)Ukraine (8 athletes)
3ArmeniaUkraine (7 athletes)ArmeniaFinland

The surprising thing in the results is that the Ukrainian national teams showed amazing results, while each of them played in an incomplete composition. The number of participants out of 10 possible is indicated in the spreadsheet above. A total of 30 Ukrainian athletes won 48 medals.

Ukrainian national teams

Of these, 26 were won by the women’s team, 22 were won by men. Three athletes are recognized as the strongest weightlifters in Europe by the Sinclair coefficient:

   Kamila Konotop among juniors.

   Maria Gangur among youth.

   Bogdan Goza among juniors.

By the way, Bogdan set a world record among juniors in the snatch at the championship – 190 kg! Isn’t that impressive?

Cameroon Weightlifters: Against All Odds

If someone lacks inspiration and motivation to visit the gym, watch my video from Cameroon. The students of Jean-Baptiste Janu-Ketchanke do not complain about poor air conditioning, old equipment and insufficiently attentive staff. They are happy that they have a goal and an Olympic weightlifter accompanies them to it.

Training gym is a place by the garage and a group of enthusiasts – six adults and 17 children. The equipment remains from the days when Jean’s father was preparing his son for the Olympic starts. This is the place where children light up with a dream and do something every day to achieve it.

The inspiration is the results of senior athletes. From this gym, Jean’s sister, Gaelle Nio-Ketchanke, began her sports career, a participant in the Olympic Games, a medalist of the World and European Championships. Now Gael stands for France, can fully train, and select sports nutrition. Prior to that, the usual nutrition left much to be desired. But Jean says his sister has a will of steel.

Jean was less fortunate, he was expelled from the national team without explanation. But now he has more time to train with children. In any case, I admire his success as an athlete and coach. And you?


  1. Richard McKay, “The Ultimate Guide to Building a Garage Gym,” Gym Flooring, https://www.gym-flooring.com/blogs/news/the-ultimate-guide-to-building-a-garage-gym (May 21, 2021).
Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko

Coach, PRO Olympic Weightlifter

Ihor Shymechko is a renowned Ukrainian weightlifter. He has represented his country in several Olympic Games, notably in 2008, 2012, and 2016. His impressive career includes winning the European championship in 2009 and earning a silver medal in 2011 in the +105 kg division. Shymechko also earned a Ph.D. from Lviv State University of Physical Culture.

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