Patricia Strenius won gold today for Sweden ©Brian Oliver/ITG

Patricia Strenius made her mark in weightlifting history at the European Championships today - and she is aiming to improve further so she can outdo the sporting achievements of her brother Patrik, an Olympic sprinter.

Sweden, whose last male European champion was back in the 1970s, had never had a female winner until Strenius made all three clean and jerks to see off the challenge of her main rival, Italy's Giorgia Bordignon, in the 69 kilograms here.

Strenius, 28, set another landmark when she became the first CrossFit athlete to switch sports and win a gold medal in a major weightlifting championships.

"I'm so proud of this," said Strenius, who started in athletics and later became one of Europe's top 10 CrossFitters after she started to take competitive fitness seriously.

"I started CrossFit in 2012, and took up weightlifting because of it."

She liked it so much she stuck with it and dropped CrossFit.

"My last international event in CrossFit was in 2015, and since then I have just done weightlifting," she added.

"The important thing with a CrossFit background is that I'm strong in every movement.

"I have strong legs, and I'm explosive."

CrossFit athletes will be going for gold again next week at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, which begin on April 4.

Australia's Tia-Clair Toomey, who won the CrossFit Games last year, will compete against another CrossFitter, the 34-year-old New Zealander Alethea Boon, in the 58kg.

Three Icelandic superstars of CrossFit with a combined social media following of three million, Annie Thorisdottir, Sara Sigmundsdottir and Katrin Davidsdottir, competed at the 2015 International Weightlifting Federation World Championships in Houston but unlike Strenius they finished well down the field.

Australia's Tia-Clair Toomey is another star of weightlifting to transition from CrossFit ©Getty Images
Australia's Tia-Clair Toomey is another star of weightlifting to transition from CrossFit ©Getty Images

The big aim for Strenius, who works part-time as a chiropractor and lives in Karlskrona, southern Sweden, is to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Her brother Patrik, whose athletics career was at its peak more than 20 years ago, was in Sweden’s 1996 sprint relay team that finished fifth at the Atlanta 1996 Games.

His best in a European Championships was fifth, and at the World Championships seventh.

"He is my role model, my motivation," said Strenius. 

"I am always trying to better his performances."

Her triumph in Romania did the trick at continental level, and her last World Championships performance of seventh, one place behind Bordignon last year - equalled Patrik's best.

"My numbers are slowly going up and if I can just keep improving, I have a good chance of qualifying for Tokyo," she said.

Strenius was behind after the snatch, but Bordignon missed her last two clean and jerks while Strenius had three from three for a winning total of 230kg, better than a tearful Bordignon by 6kg and 15kg clear of third-placed Patrycia Piechowiak, of Poland.

There was a gold for Georgia when 19-year-old Revaz Davitadze, the European junior champion, left a strong and youthful men's 85kg field in his wake, building a 10kg advantage in the snatch and making all six lifts for a total of 353kg. 

Silver went to Poland's Kacper Klos, on 342kg, and bronze to the Frenchman Brandon Vautard - at 21 the oldest medallist - who won the clean and jerk with a final lift of 191kg for a total of 335kg.

Ireland's Cathal Byrd announced his retirement after finishing 13th at his seventh European Championships, ending an 11-year career in which he competed in four weight categories.