Spanish weightlifter Lidia Valentín in anticipation of the World Weightlifting Championships in Ashgabat

Spanish weightlifter Lidia Valentín in anticipation of the World Weightlifting Championships in Ashgabat

Ayna BERDYEVA

The World Weightlifting Championship, which will be held in Ashgabat in November this year, attracts international celebrities who are ready again to demonstrate their abilities.

One of them is the sporting icon Lidia Valentín, the best Spanish weightlifter competing in the Women’s 75 kg category.

Lidia has won three Olympic Medals: Silver in 2008, Gold in 2012 and Bronze in 2016, a World Weightlifting Championship in 2017, as well as four European Weightlifting Championships, something no other Spanish weightlifter, male or female, has ever done. At the European Championships, she won four gold medals for the total in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018; three silver medals in 2008, 2012 and 2013 and three bronze medals in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

“Lydia’s victory at the Olympics is a landmark because we’ve never been close to getting an Olympic medal before. She has blazed the trail and taken us out of obscurity,” “El Pais” quotes Constantino Iglesias, President of Spain’s Weightlifting Federation.

Agile and competitive, Lydia had a breathtaking aptitude and attitude. At 14, she was able to compete and she was declared champion of Spain twice in a row. At 11, Isaac Álvarez, a weightlifting coach, suggested she take up weightlifting and she happened to like it. From then on, the Spanish Weightlifting Federation began to take note.

“I met her when she was just seven years old. She was naturally gifted and had exceptional qualities. She was outstanding in gymnastics and was spectacular at basketball. She was very coordinated with great potential. She was far better than everyone else. I was certain she would succeed,” says Valentín’s Isaac Álvarez.

Lydia was determined to follow her dream and never complained training a number of hours a day, however tired she felt.

Another Spanish weightlifter Irene Martínez, bronze medalist in the 63 kilogram category in the last European Championships and eight years younger than Valentín, admits Valentín is her inspiration.

“Her technique and physique are very good,” she says. “But the main thing is her perseverance. She totally believes in herself. Her mind is her biggest asset.”

At 33, Lydia prefers not to think of her retirement from the sport. She does concede, however, that Tokyo will be her last Olympics. At the upcoming World Championships in Turkmenistan, Valentín will defend her title, not only as World Champion but also as the world’s top female weightlifter, an honor bestowed upon her by the International Federation of Weightlifting.

Beyond that, she sees herself opening a gym and designing sportswear.

“Fashion is my passion. My philosophy is keep working and to enjoy,” Lidia admits.