USA Weightlifting Successfully Debuts Friendship Cup During National Championships
by USA Weightlifting
LAS VEGAS – The inaugural USA Weightlifting Friendship Cup concluded Sunday at the Las Vegas Convention Center when athletes from different countries stood side by side on the podium – this time as teammates – celebrating their collective results.
The brainchild of International Weightlifting Federation 1st Vice President Ursula Garza Papandrea, the Friendship Cup saw two-athlete teams of one male and one female athlete, each from a different country, compete for a combined placement. The meet was held in conjunction with the three-day 2022 USA Weightlifting National Championships. Friendship Cup athletes lifted in their respective bodyweight category sessions of the U.S. championships, and their Sinclair totals were combined for the Friendship Cup team result. Non-U.S. athletes were not eligible for placements within the national championships.
Participants of the USA Weightlifting National Championships mentioned the excitement of having foreign delegations at the meet and the benefit having athletes from other countries in their sessions provided of practicing for future international assignments.
The 16 athletes, who were drawn into eight teams, partaking in the Friendship Cup, hailed from seven countries and four continents.
The field included four Olympians, four world medalists and medalists from the African, European, Oceania and Pan American Championships.
“In a time where the weightlifting community seems quite fractured, I hope the Friendship Cup highlights the similarities between athletes as opposed to their differences,” Garza Papandrea said. “The intent is to bring a sense of unity among athletes, who are the potential leaders of tomorrow. There should be a bond between all weightlifters that outweighs any of our differences.”
Sara Ahmed of Egypt, an Olympic, world and Youth Olympic medalist, and Armenia’s Andranik Karapetyan, a 2015 world medalist, won the Friendship Cup with a two-athlete Sinclair total of 700.913.
Armenian Gor Minasyan, a four-time world medalist and the men’s super heavyweight Olympic silver medalist in 2016, combined with American Madeline Staniszewski for second place – her first international result – with 684.966 points, while another U.S. woman, 2021 Pan American bronze medalist Maddison Pannell, was third with Tongan Joshua Uikilifi after a combined 660.657.
Armenia sent five men to the Friendship Cup, while the U.S. entered four women. Egypt and Tonga each had two athletes at the event’s debut. Botswana, Kenya and Uganda had one athlete apiece.
All four of the U.S. women who took part in the Friendship Cup also leave Las Vegas with medals from the USA Weightlifting National Championships. They are 55kg national champion Pannell, 87kg gold medalist Laura Alexander, 64kg clean & jerk silver medalist Staniszewski and 76kg snatch silver medalist Allee Tallman.
Kuinini Manumua, a 2020 Olympian for Tonga who holds dual citizenship, won the women’s +87kg title at the National U25 Championships and placed fourth in the Friendship Cup with Armenia’s Samvel Gasparyan, the 2021 European champion at 102kg.
USA Weightlifting intends to hold the Friendship Cup annually, with the potential for the 2023 edition to take place in conjunction with the Arnold Sports Festival.
2022 USA Weightlifting Friendship Cup results:
Gold: Sara Ahmed (EGY), 297.088 / Andranik Karapetyan (ARM), 403.825 = 700.913
Silver: Madeline Staniszewski (USA), 262.387 / Gor Minasyan (ARM), 422.579 = 684.966
Bronze: Maddison Pannell (USA), 281.701 / Joshua Uikilifi (TON), 378.956 = 660.657
4) Kuinini Manumua (TON), 244.547 / Samvel Gasparyan (ARM), 406.149 = 650.696
5) Lorraine Ligare (KEN), 180.020 / Varazdat Lalayan (ARM), 423.999 = 604.019
6) Laura Alexander (USA), 271.935 / Hakim Musoke Ssempereza (UGA), 315.335 = 587.21
7) Samar Hussein (EGY), 267.102 / Kgotla Alphius Kgaswane (BOT), 262.327 = 529.429
8) Allee Tallman (USA), 0.000 / Davit Hovhannisyan (ARM), 399.008 = 399.008