Interview with Maltese weightlifter Yazmin Zammit Stevens
Yazmin Zammit Stevens is a Maltese weightlifter. She has represented Malta on multiple occasions and is also the current national record holder for the 63kg and 69kg categories.
Check out our interview with Yazmin below.
Some people see weightlifting as a sport for men but that view is gradually changing, what inspired you to start training this sport?
Yes, I think this stereotype is slowly fading, and I rarely get any surprised reactions when I tell people what I do. I obviously get the occasional, 'Oh wow, you don't look like a weightlifter'- thinking I'll take this as a compliment. But, by saying that they're assuming to be a weightlifter you have to be masculine, which is ridiculous.
I've always loved doing sports, and never thought of any sport as being more appropriate for girls or boys. For me, I just always did whatever I enjoyed doing. About 2 years ago I found my way into weightlifting through crossfit, which includes weightlifting as part of it's training. I eventually realised my potential in doing just weightlifting and started training full time. After a few months I made the national team and made the move to start working with the national team weightlifting coach who really worked on my technique and strength programming.
You are currently in Slovenia for a training camp, how has the experience been so far?
Slovenia has been a great training experience. The reason I came to Slovenia was to work with their national team coach, Damjan. He'll be my coach in my next major international competition next week, the World University Games in Taipei. So basically I came here for 2 weeks prior to that competition just so we can have some experience in working together and making sure we can get the best possible result next week as a team.
You currently hold multiple national records in the 63kg and 69kg categories, how does it feel having your hard work pay off and what have you set your sights on to achieve?
It's obviously something I'm really proud of, but I'm the kind of person who's never really satisfied. Right after breaking a record I'll have my few hours of celebration, but I'm back at the gym bright and early the next morning working on the next goal.
I always like setting mini goals. Like when I started, my first goal was to be ranked first in Malta, then to break a national record. Eventually I started setting bigger goals like being the first Maltese woman to compete at Europeans. The one I like to think of right now is lifting 100kg in the clean and jerk, which would be the first time a woman has lifted in triple digits in Malta. I'm close, super close! But not quite there yet. The ultimate goal is to eventually make it to the Olympics. I've always been obsessed with the Games, even when I was like 7 years old and doing gymnastics, i'd go home and tell my parents that I'll be going to the Olympics one day. So it would be such a dream come true. But it's still a far way from happening right now, and I have to keep working super hard to make it a reality.
What is the hardest thing about weightlifting?
Obviously physically it takes so much out of you, but i dont mind that. Mentally though- it's a rollercoaster of emotions when you're training full time. So personally the hardest part is just staying positive on days where my body feels like its giving up on me, and not letting the stresses of preparing for a competition get to me.
What is your proudest moment in this sport?
I really can't think of one specific moment but in general I'm proud of being the first female weightlifter to represent Malta at major international events.