Davit Hovhannisyan clinched the men's 96kg gold for the hosts ©Brian Oliver

Weightlifters from host nation Armenia were roared on to the podium by a big crowd at the European Weightlifting Championships here.

Davit Hovhannisyan and Ara Aghanyan, first and second last year in Albania, repeated the feat in front of their own fans, helped by a slew of red lights for rivals from France and Italy.

The 96 kilograms result takes the host nation up to second place behind Romania in the medals table, and with several more chances over the weekend they look certain to finish top.

Another certainty is a packed house at the Karen Demirchyan Complex on Saturday and Sunday.

More than 4,000 tickets have been sold for the final men's super-heavyweight session of the Championships, which features multiple champion and world record holder Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia and the young Armenian challenger Varazdat Lalayan.

Hovhannisyan led his team-mate by 7kg in the snatch and stretched the advantage to 13kg, finishing on 172-205-377, with Aghanyan on 165-199-364.

Between them they declined three attempts, having seen off all challengers.

Cristiano Ficco from Italy made only two good lifts for third place on 165-198-363, ahead of the snatch silver medallist from Turkey, Hakan Kurnaz in fourth on 361kg and Britain’s Cyrille Tchatchet in fifth on 350kg.

Both French athletes, Redon Manushi and Romain Imadouchene - fourth at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships last December - bombed out in the snatch.

Fans enjoyed as Armenians Davit Hovhannisyan and Ara Aghanyan bagged first and second in the men's 96kg class ©Brian Oliver
Fans enjoyed as Armenians Davit Hovhannisyan and Ara Aghanyan bagged first and second in the men's 96kg class ©Brian Oliver

In the other medal event of the day, the women's 81kg, Iryna Dekha from Ukraine won a sweep of gold medals to claim her fourth continental title.

For the third session in a row the winner finished way clear. 

For Karlos Nasar and Marie Fegue yesterday, the margin was 21kg and 27kg, and for 26-year-old Dekha it was 23kg after she made 123-135-258.

Dekha has always thrived in the snatch by comparison with clean and jerk, having bombed out twice with three failures in the latter part of a competition - including at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Here, she made her first clean and jerk but missed the last two, which is exactly what happened in December at the IWF World Championships, where Dekha won snatch gold then dropped to fourth place.

Turkey won four more medals and it has 21, more than any other nation after seven days.

Dilara Narin finished second on 101-134-235 and Sara Yenigun on 131kg.

Elina Erighina of Moldova was third on total with104-130-234.