Russia won three gold medals today in Eilat ©Alex Padure

Russia won three European Junior and Under-23 weightlifting titles here in Eilat, taking their tally for the week to eight - but their efforts paled into insignificance alongside the further blackening of Russian weightlifting’s reputation through the latest revelations in the McLaren Report.

More than 30 sports were featured in Part Two of the report into institutionalised doping in Russia, which was released today.

The weightlifting "highlights" in the Report were: widespread use of banned drugs by "testosterone lovers", switching of samples, manipulation of information on the testing database, and biological passports so abnormal that one senior scientist said she had "never seen anything like it".

Maxim Agapitov, who took over as President of the Russian Weightlifting Federation in November after Sergey Syrtsov resigned, was on his way home from Israel to Moscow when the Report was released.

Before his departure Agapitov, a world champion in 1997, said: "The Federation has a lot of problems and I could see something had to change.

"I have seen them over the years, the mistakes made, the liabilities. 

"I want to help because weightlifting is not just my job, it’s my life. 

"We must turn around the minds of the coaches and the athletes."

The McLaren Report highlighted the misdemeanors of eight unnamed weightlifters who had won titles at the 2014 National Championships in Grozny. 

It was an interesting day for new Russian Weightlifting Association President Maxim Agapitov ©Facebook
It was an interesting day for new Russian Weightlifting Association President Maxim Agapitov ©Facebook

Two of today's winners in Eilat won at those Championships, the 85 kilogram Under-23 champion Artem Okulov, and 94kg Under-23 winner Adam Maligov. 

The women’s 69kg champion at Under-23 here, Nadezda Likhacheva, was second in Grozny.

Okulov defeated the Olympic champion Kianoush Rostami when he won the senior World Championships in 2015, and was a clear favourite here. 

He went head-to-head with the Ukrainian Ihor Konotop and made six good lifts to Konotop’s five to finish on 363kg.

Behind the top two there was a tearful failure for Turkey’s Turgay Besler, who had to be helped off the platform and could be heard crying backstage as the next lifter came out.

Frenchman Romain Imadouchene then passed out after failing at 190kg, only to return a few minutes later and make the lift. 

He carried his coach off the platform in celebration, and finished third overall.

The Under-23 contest at 94kg was even more of a spectacle. 

Six of the 10 lifters made three-from-three in the snatch and the medal positions changed constantly before Maligov was left in front on bodyweight.

When Lithuanian Zygimantas Stanulis missed his first two attempts at 167kg he had as many no-lifts as his nine rivals combined. 

On his third attempt he screamed for support from the crowd, made the lift and screamed even louder, having earned second place ahead of Romania’s Nicolae Onica.

Stanulis then missed all his clean and jerks, which left Maligov and Romania’s Nicolae Onica to fight it out for gold. 

They both made six from six and Maligov clinched gold with his last lift at 207kg. 

Another Russian, Konstanti Roshchupkin, was third on total, 8kg behind Onica and 11kg adrift of Maligov.

The withdrawal of the Olympic silver medallist from Belarus, Darya Naumava, left the women’s Under-23 contest at 75kg at the mercy of two Russians.

The more experienced Lyaysan Malkiyanova had already equalled her career best total of 235kg after four lifts and despite missing her next, her final clean and jerk of 131kg and total of 241kg was too much for Mariia Petrova, who at 21 is two years younger.

Finland’s Marianne Saarhelo and her coaches celebrated wildly after her final clean and jerk put her in bronze medal position, but she was denied on bodyweight by a successful last lift by Turkey’s Rabia Kaya, who was third overall.

Sarah Fischer's fourth place was a family affair ©Alex Padure
Sarah Fischer's fourth place was a family affair ©Alex Padure

In the junior women’s super-heavyweights Georgia’s Anastasiia Hotfrid was a worthy winner. 

She built a lead of 8kg in the snatch and finished well ahead of Valentyna Krisil of Ukraine and and Britain’s Mercy Brown, who was also third in this year’s European seniors and the World Juniors.

Brown is one of several good young female lifters in Britain but the national squad’s future was clouded when it was announced on Friday that all elite funding for weightlifting, and other sports in which Britain won no medals at the Olympic Games, had been stopped.

A separate decision on funding will be made by Sport England next week, and with participation growing in weightlifting there are hopes for funding at developmental level.

The silver medal went to Valentyna Kisil of Ukraine, who finished ahead of Brown in the snatch and behind her in the clean and jerk.

Sarah Fischer’s fourth place for Austria, in which she set a national record, was very much a family affair. 

Sarah, 16, was cheered on by her brother and team-mate David, 18, who finished fifth in the Junior 94kg - plus father and Austrian Federation official Ewald, a former national champion; mother Renate; and 75-year-old grandparents Maria and Johann, a referee.

The final event of another near-12-hour schedule was the under-23 women’s super-heavyweights, in which Ukraine’s Anastasiia Lysenko had six good lifts and a clean sweep in totalling 270kg. 

Andreea Aanei of Romania was 38kg behind in second place and Belgium’s Anna Vanbellinghen third.