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Weightlifting CSKA - HISTORY



Weightlifting CSKA - HISTORY

Weightlifting has been one of the strongest disciplines in CSKA throughout the years. The Army club has produced tens of champions in heavy athletics, who brought glory to the club and Bulgaria at the biggest international competitions. Only at the Olympics, CSKA weightlifters have won six gold medals.

Undoubtedly the biggest contributor to national heavy athletics is the legendary Norair Nurikyan, twice an Olympic champion. He was later awarded the Order of Stara Planina, 1st degree, and in 1994 was welcomed to the International Weightlifting Federation's Hall of Fame. The first sport Nurikyan took on was basketball. However, his insufficient height prevented him from achieving success in the game. One day. Norair, along with two of his friends, decided to go to the weightlifting hall, where he was noticed by legendary Bulgarian coach Ivan Abadjiev. The coach's keen eye immediately saw Nurikyan's potential and offered him to start training with him.

After completing his military service, the weightlifter was accepted to the National Sports Academy, where Abadjiev was a coach. In 1969 Nurikyan achieved his first international success, taking the bronze in the European championship and fifth place in the World championship. In 1971 he won the silver medal at the European and the bronze at the Planet championship. Unfortunately, while training for the national team for the 1972 Summer Olympics, Norair broke a bone in his right wrist and was unable to train. Ivan Abadjiev's genius manifested and he decided that Nurikyan was to squat with the weights on his shoulders only, without lifting the apparatus above his head.

Norair Nurikyan managed to participate in the Olympics; in his category, USSR's Dito Shanidze was considered the favorite. The Georgian won at the throwing with a little lead against the Bulgarian weightlifter. Then, Abadjiev told Nurikyan that the one with the stronger character and clearer mind would become the champion. To win the gold, Norair had to lift 157.5 kilograms - a weight he had never lifted, even at practice, and which would actually be a new world record. Nurikyan went up to the podium and lifted the weight, earning his first Olympic title and the first title for Bulgaria in weightlifting. From the two movements, he achieved the record-breaking score for his category - 402.5 kilograms.

After the Olympics, Norair Nurikyan won silver and bronze medals at the European championships, without being well prepared. From 1976, the Sliven native returned to his category and won the European title. He won his second title the same year at the Summer Olympics, after which Ivan Abadjiev shed tears, as his boy brought home Bulgaria's second weightlifting medal, which was fortunately gold once again.

Another fundamental figure in CSKA's weightlifting is Andon Nikolov, who competed in the category under 90 kilograms. His sports career started with a bang in 1972, when only in a few months, he managed to win the gold at the Olympics and the World championship. The media called him "the unexpected champion". During his long career Nikolov made six world and nine Olympic records, and he has also won two silver and two bronze medals from world championships.

After the end of his career, he was assistant coach of the national team for many years, led by the legendary Ivan Abadjiev, and in 2004, he was elected president of the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation - a position he occupied until 2007.

Nedelcho Kolev began his career in CSKA and to its end, he only lifted for the reds. He was world champion twice and European champion twice in the category below 75 kilograms. He has numerous wins nationwide in his red uniform as well. Nedelcho Kolev completed his competitive career at the age of 27, after winning bronze at the Olympics in Moscow. He also bears the titles "honorable master of sport" and "honorable coach".

A golden mark in weightlifting was also left by Yordan Mitkov, who won the gold for Bulgaria at the 1976 games in Montreal. Unfortunately, this remained his only Olympic title, because a case of hepatitis before the games in Moscow put an early end to his career. For only a few years on the podium, Mitkov made 12 world and 3 olympic records, and in addition to the gold in Montreal, he won the European championship in 1979.

In the 80s, CSKA's weightlifting found its new leader - Asen Zlatev, who dominated the worldwide scene in the categories up to 75 and up to 82.5 kilograms. Asen Zlatev made his debut at the Moscow Olympics, where he became first, and the same year, he also won the World championship. Gold medals from the European championship followed (1982, 1984, 1985), as well as silver (1981, 1983). A world champion in 1986 and a silver medalist (1983, 1985). Recipient of the "Golden Kilogram" award. Made 20 world records.

Neno Terziiski in particular is one of the weightlifters who left their names written in gold in weightlifting's history. After graduating from the sports school in Rousse, he found himself in CSKA's academy, after which began his ascend to the top.

As a competitor Neno Terziiski has three world championship titles - 1983, 1985 and 1987, and four European - in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986, as well as a fourth place from the Olympic games in Barcelona in 1992.

At the European championship in Poland in 1991, Ivan Chakarov, who has won multiple other awards, became the gold medalist.

Two years later Ivan Chakarov won a bronze medal at the European championship, but in the same year - 1993 - he reached the top spot in the world.

This way CSKA gave Bulgaria some of its best weightlifters, which bring the country worldwide recognition.

Today, weightlifting continues to develop at CSKA, with the focus being on young talents, who should bring back the somewhat forgotten in the 21st century glimmer of this glorious sport.

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