Maksym Dombrovskyi won Ukraine's first medal of the IWF Junior World Championships ©IWF

Ukraine’s national anthem was heard for the first time this week at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Junior World Championships in Heraklion on Crete.

Maksym Dombrovskyi was a clear winner in the 89 kilograms category, needing only his first clean and jerk to finish 5kg clear of the Armenian Suren Grigoryan.

Dombrovskyi, who turned 20 last month, had failed with two of his snatch attempts and declined his last two clean and jerks to finish on 155-190-345.

Ukraine’s men’s team have relocated to Romanian capital Bucharest to train and prepare for this event and the European Championships, and probably beyond because of the war in their homeland.

Based on entry totals Ukraine have a good chance of topping the medals table, which now features 11 nations with one gold medal and only one, Indonesia, with two.

Ukraine have medal chances on the last three days of competition and have the strong favourite, Bohdan Hoza, in the 109kg on Monday.

Grigoryan made 155-185-340 and the bronze medallist Mahmoud Gamal of Egypt, the snatch winner, had 156-183-339.

There were notable absentees from both of the day’s medal events.

Karlos Nasar, the Bulgarian who holds youth, junior and senior world records at 81kg after phenomenal performances as a teenager, was a victim of internal politics.

A dispute over the leadership of the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation led to a lack of financial support to send a team to Crete and after entering, Bulgaria withdrew.

Nasar would have gone up to 89kg, the weight at which he is intending to lift in the European Championships in Albania starting on May 28, by when the funding problem should have been resolved.

He has been posting some huge 200kg-plus lifts on social media and will be a star attraction in Tirana, the host city.

Ecuador's team today tasted success via Bella Paredes, right ©EWF
Ecuador's team today tasted success via Bella Paredes, right ©EWF

The Russian Iana Sotieva, last year’s world champion and a bronze medallist in the senior IWF World Championships in December, was unable to lift in the women’s 76kg because of the suspension of teams from Russia and Belarus after the invasion of Ukraine.

Sotieva beat today’s winner, Bella Paredes from Ecuador, into second place in the 2021 IWF Junior World Championships by a margin of 16kg.

Paredes might well have closed that gap, judging by today’s effort when, for the third successive time, she made six from six.

The margin between Paredes and second-placed Daniela Ivanova of Latvia was 13kg, with Duangkamon Khongthong of Thailand a further 1kg back in third place.

Less than four years ago Ivanova, a European youth champion in 2018, was lifting down at 53kg, and this was her first attempt at 76kg.

She made 95-127-222, a career best, while Paredes had 104-131-235, improving her previous best total by 13kg.