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Godelli’s unique medal collection

Moment of the Year by EBSNIK DIZDARI

Look at this boy! In fact, he is a World Champion. Daniel Godelli, was born in 1992 in Peqin, a small town in Central Albania with only 9.000 inhabitants. I think it is not easy to find such a small town where a World Champion has been grown up. He is only 19 years old, but already became World Champion in 2011, at the Junior World Championships held in Penang, Malaysia. His coach is Ali Lundraxhiu.

Meanwhile, still in 2011, a film dedicated to him, (realized by journalist Ahmet Shqarri and directed by Ylli Pepo) won an Award at the World Sports Cinema Festival held in Milan. He won the gold medal in Penang just right after the film received the Award.

Until now Albania won four gold medals ever at World Championships (among all sports) and all of them were won in weightlifting sport: Ymer Pampuri in 1972 at the WWC, Erkand Qerimaj in 2006 and 2007 and Daniel Godelli in 2011 at the JWC.

With three silver medals won in 2010 and two silver and a gold medal won in 2011, Godelli is the only Albanian athlete of all time who gained six medals at World Championships.

In Penang, the Albanian team obtained the fifth place in the team classification among 29 countries, following Iran, Russia, China and Ecuador. For a country with only three million inhabitants it was a unique case.

The Albanian government already understood that weightlifting was very important for the young people in the country and also for the Albanian sport in general.

The government gives continuous financial support to the athletes, as well as providing the champions with prizes what was unimaginable some years ago. It is important to know, that even today; Albania is a country full of endless financial problems.

At the moment Albania has only two medal winners at World Championships: Ymer Pampuri was World Champion in 1972 and Ilir Suli, silver medallist.

At the 2011 IWF World Championships Paris, Albania won the first medal among women, Romela Begaj in category 58 kg won bronze medal in snatch (100 kg).

The enthusiastic President of the Albanian Weightlifting Federation and Member of the Executive Board of the IWF, Mr. Esat Ademi is the first Albanian sports official who has ever obtained such an important international position. (Until now, Albania has gained 19 medals at World Championships. Moreover the Albanian athletes gained 36 medals at European Senior Championships, 41 medals at European Junior Championships and 36 medals at European Youth Championships. 75 percent of these medals were won in the last 7-8 years.)

Now the main goal for the country is to get an Olympic medal.

It is an interesting coincidence that in 2012 it is the 40th anniversary of the Munich Olympic Games where Ymer Pampuri broke the Olympic record (press) and became World Champion. It is the 20th anniversary of Pirro Dimas’ (Pyrros Dimas) first Olympic Gold medal, already under the Greek flag, but he is originally from the Albanian city Himara and then grew up in Tirana.

A few famous athletes became World Champions or/and Olympic medal winners under the flag of Greece, but were born and practicing weightlifting for a while in Albania, such as:

Pirro Dimas (Pyrros Dimas), Luan Shabani (Leonidas Sabanis), Jorgo Xhelili (Yorgos Tzelilis), Leonidha Goga (Leonidas Kokas), Viktor Mitro (Viktor Mitrou).

So, can we say that Albania has a weightlifting school? Maybe. What we can confirm without doubt is that the Albanian champions of nowadays intend to create a glory of their country. We wish that 2012 bring them the big explosion…

EBSNIK DIZDARI,

Shqiptar Editor-in-Chief

Tirana

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