Olympic gold 2022 in Weightlifting

 Weightlifting. New Generation] Guram Vekua:

 When you have Lasha Talakhadze as your idol, you should only think about Olympic gold

[Weightlifting. New Generation] Guram Vekua: When you have Lasha Talakhadze as your idol, you should only think about Olympic gold


2022 was successful for Georgian U-15 and U-17 wrestlers (head coach Zurab Centauri): they won 16 gold, 7 silver, and 5 bronze medals at the European Championship held in Chekhanov, Poland on August 20-27. From the Under-17 World Cup hosted by Saudi Arabia on October 3-12, three of our athletes won 2 gold, 6 silver, and 1 bronze medal. Guram Vekua (born January 5, 2004), a two-time European youth champion and silver medalist at the World Championships, lives in the village of Rike, Zugdidi Municipality.


- Guram Vekua is a young man with unique data, the most talented and hard-working, - Zurab Antauri told me. - I have been training since 2018 and I do not remember missing a lesson or needing to give extra notes. Even in 2020, despite the epidemic, we did not stop training for a minute. I contacted you 5-10 minutes before the start of the online workout and the modeling was already over. It is the same today. My father stands next to me - former weightlifter Slava Vekua, with whom I have a long friendship. Guram has the unprecedented support of his family and he does not disappoint his parents, and not only them. I am sure that the Georgian national wrestling team will have a decent chance if it acquires the experience of participating in international tournaments over the years ...

After talking to the head coach of the Georgian youth team, I met Guram Vekua in Zugdidi.


- As a child, like his peers, he loved football, but my father, who is a two-time champion of Georgia in weightlifting, really wanted me to continue his path, - Guram told me. - We have a good gym in Rike. Many famous athletes grew up here. At the age of eight, I started training with my godmother - Bezhan Chichinadze, but I could not do anything with my heart. Secretly from my parents, on the advice of friends, I started boxing, but soon I got bored of it too. After my dad started working as a weight training coach, I headed back to the gym. The years went by and I looked at the barbell with a different eye. In 2018, I took second place in doubles at the Georgian Under-15 Championship - Bondo Chiladze from Khashuri won. It seems that Mr. Zurab Atauri noticed me then because a month after the competition he called me to the meeting of the Georgian team of peers in Dusheti, then he took me to the European Championship in Italy, where I took 5th place.


- The next year turned out to be successful.


- In January 2019, at the initiative of Zurab teacher, I found myself in the training center of Gldani Olympic Reserve. There I started intense training. I also had two pieces of training twice a week and the result was not delayed: first I won the Georgian championship in U-15, then I won three gold medals at the European Championship in Eilat (Israel). Everything was going uphill, but restrictions were soon imposed on the pandemic. We were not allowed in the gym, but we did not stop rehearsing: on Mr. Zurab's advice, my father vacated the basement of our house - my brother Irakli and I started training. Mr. Zurab was even hospitalized due to coronavirus disease, but we continued to train online. In our free time, my father taught us to follow the rules. This kind of training paid off - I won three gold medals at the European Under-17 Championship in Poland in 2022, and Irakli won one silver and two bronze medals at the Under-15 Championship.

Then there was the World Cup in Saudi Arabia ...

Yes. There were three of us on the team and all three were from Zugdidi. During the competition, I tried to take into account the coach's handouts to the end. I used all three attempts in the data, but the 148kg only brought me a silver medal. Uzbek Kurbonmurod Nomozov won five kilograms. He had previously competed in 102kg but lost weight for this championship and competed in 96kg. The Asian weightlifter took two more first places, while I won silver medals in the 180 kg in Akvara and 328 kg in the doubles. It was nice that in Saudi Arabia Natia Gadelia won two gold and one silver medal, while Nikoloz Esartia won 2 silver and 1 bronze. So, Zugdidi brought nine medals of the World Championship in their hometown.

After returning from Arabia, I won the Georgian U-20 Championship, and at the end of the year, I took third place in the national championship after the winner of the Olympic Games Anton Plesnoy and the three-time world champion in youth Irakli Chkheidze. All this is the merit of my trainer - Zurab Centauri. I remember so many good things from him over the years, which probably would have been difficult for his parents to do. I am grateful for the attention and support of my family members, our federation, the Olympic Training Center, Zugdidi Municipality, and Zeda Etseri 15th Abkhazian Public School. I will try