Vadzim Straltsou is a strong contender in the 102kg ©Getty Images

Greece, Belgium and Austria joined the growing list of nations on the medals table at the European Weightlifting Championships in Batumi, Georgia.

The most significant move on day seven, though, was at the top of the table as Belarus overtook Russia and Romania with a sensational record-breaking performance by Yauheni Tsikantsou in the men’s 96kg.

With Tatiana Kashirina a strong favourite to win the women’s super-heavyweights, one of four finals on the last day of competition on Saturday, Russia remain favourites to top the table, as they have more silvers.

But Belarus, with strong contender Vadzim Straltsou going in the 102kg, are in with a decent chance.

Tsikhantsou is still a junior, aged 20, yet he made six from six and broke two European senior records in totalling 400kg, a 10kg improvement on his total in finishing fourth at last year’s International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships.

To make those records he had to jump 12kg on his final lift, from 210 to 222 and he made it in style.

It was a strong field and a good contest but the impressive Tsikhantsou won it by 22kg from Egor Klimonov of Russia and Anton Pliesnoi, who has moved from Ukraine to compete for Georgia.

Another lifter who did the same thing, Anastasiia Hotfrid, might have won the women’s 87kg had she competed, but she did not enter as she is pregnant.

Hotfrid was Georgia’s first female world champion in 2017 and a European champion last year, having left Ukraine because she was unhappy about perceived favouritism shown by the national coach to his own lifters.

In her absence, Russia had a one-two finish ahead of the 18-year-old Austrian Sarah Fischer, who won her first senior medal.

Teenager Enzo Kuworge is an exciting prospect in Dutch weightlifting ©Enzo Kuworge
Teenager Enzo Kuworge is an exciting prospect in Dutch weightlifting ©Enzo Kuworge

Maxim Agapitov, the president of the Russian Weightlifting Federation who has worked hard to change the culture of the sport, presented the medals to winner Kseniia Pashkina (242kg) and runner-up Diana Mstieva (240kg) after they had dominated throughout.

It was a reversal of placings at the IWF World Championships, where Mstieva had finished sixth, 11kg and two places better than Pashkina.

The women's 81kg was won by Eleni Konstantinidi of Greece (223) from Nina Schroth of Germany (222) and Anna Vanbellinghen of Belgium, a further kilo behind.

The Netherlands, which has not had a weightlifter at the Olympic Games in more than 50 years, at last has a lifter who can end that run, judging by the performance of Enzo Kuworge.

The teenage super-heavyweight, who was his nation’s flag bearer and a bronze medallist at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina last year, had a career-best total of 382kg in the B Group.

His father is Ghanaian and Ghana’s National Olympic Committee president, Ben Nunoo Mensah, who is also head of the weightlifting federation, has tried to persuade him to compete for the West African nation.

“I have met Ben Mensah and may go to train with the Ghana team in the United States, but I want to stay in Europe at least throughout my junior career,” said Kuworge, 18.

As weightlifting is almost off the radar in Dutch sport, Kuworge is grateful for the support he has received from the IWF.

His trip to the 2017 IWF Youth World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand would not have happened but for help from Mohamed Jaloud, general secretary of the IWF, and he also needed support from the sport’s governing body to make it to the Youth Olympic Games.

“The Dutch Olympic Committee is supporting me throughout qualifying for Tokyo and if I don’t make it I will go for Paris 2024,” he said.