A multi-sports complex in Izvorani will host the European Championships ©RNOC

The 2018 European Weightlifting Championships will take place next month as planned after the Romanian Weightlifting Federation stepped in at short notice to save the event.

Romania is the fifth nation to have been put forward as host for the Championships, which would have been postponed until later in the year had they not come to the rescue.

Six days of competition, from March 26 to April 1, will take place at a multi-sports complex in Izvorani, near Bucharest, which was built by the state after Romania's outstanding performances at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. 

Although a Romanian newspaper reported last week that Bucharest would host the Championships, the event was in the balance until today, when difficulties regarding television coverage were finally resolved and paperwork was completed.

"I hope and believe we will have a good Championships," said Alex Padure, general secretary of the Romanian Weightlifting Federation.

"At such short notice it was impossible, unfortunately, to find a venue in the heart of Bucharest.

"But the Sydney 2000 complex is a fine venue, and it has hosted weightlifting before - it was the venue for the 2012 European Youth Championships."

Hasan Akkus, general secretary of the European Weightlifting Federation (EWF), said: "The venue is fine, the accommodation is fine, and we will be able to use an indoor tennis centre as our training venue."

Entries were due to close this week but because of the late announcement of the new venue, and because some nations will now be able to travel by road, the deadline has been extended until February 13, Akkus said.

Romania was earlier overlooked when it bid for the Championships in October.

The original venue was Antalya, but Turkey's one-year suspension, imposed by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for multiple doping offences, forced them to withdraw as hosts.

Romela Begaj's disqualification sparked a crisis which led to the European Championships being removed from Albania ©Getty Images
Romela Begaj's disqualification sparked a crisis which led to the European Championships being removed from Albania ©Getty Images

Georgia and Romania offered to take over, but Halmstad in Sweden was lined up to take over by the EWF.

There were difficulties with the television contract and the Swedish Federation, though keen to host a Championships in future, decided they could not organise the event at six months notice.

Albania then stepped in, and Tirana was named host city on October 30 - only to withdraw in late January.

The board of the Albanian Weightlifting Federation resigned amid a public outcry about doping, when it was announced that Romela Begaj tested positive for a second time at the IWF World Championships in Anaheim, California in December.

The Albanians had nobody in place to organise the Championships, so the EWF said it would postpone until later in the year unless a new host could be found.

Georgia offered to help, but decided against trying to host the Championships at nine weeks notice. 

Georgia is already host nation for the 2019 European Championships, which will be held in Batumi.

Finally Romania, whose national federation president is Nicu Vlad, an Olympic gold medallist and a vice-president of the IWF, took up the challenge, successfully.

One of the biggest home favourites will be Loredana-Elena Toma, the world and European champion at 63 kilograms.

The Complexul Sydney 2000 is on the shore of Lake Snagov in Izvorani, 33 kilometres north of Bucharest.

It was built when the state invested in sport after Romania's success in Sydney, where they won 26 medals, including 11 golds in six different sports.