History in Color:
May 18, 1980, Moscow, Russia – Soviet super heavyweight Aslanbek Yenaldiev of the Spartak Club (Ordzhonikidze, Russia) competes in the 110+kg class at the 1980 USSR Championships in Moscow.
The 1980 USSR Championships was held at the Izmaylovo Sports Arena that was built for the 1980 Summer Olympics. However, with two months left to the Olympics, the arena was still under construction in May 1980.
“What a championship it was! ” Sergey Artamonov, one of the officials of the tournament, told me in a recent interview. “There were no audience in the Izmaylovo arena during the 1980 USSR Championships. No viewers were allowed to attend it because of the safety issues. The arena was still under construction.”
The Soviet Federation made the 1980 national championship mandatory for all candidates to the Team USSR Weightlifting in order to be selected for the 1980 Olympics. However most of the top lifters didn’t compete and there were only a few who actually took part in the Moscow Olympic tournament in July 1980. Only Kanybek Osmonaliev (52kg) Viktor Mazin (60kg) and Igor Nikitin (100kg) won the 1980 USSR Championships and went on to represent the country at the Olympics.
There were 143 participants in the 10 weight classes and 51 (!!!!) of them bombed out. In the super heavyweight class, only two athletes were listed as medalists. Vladimir Marchuk won gold and Anatoly Pisarenko won a silver medal. The rest were disqualified because they failed with their lifts. None of them competed at the Olympics.
Aslanbek Yenaldiev (1948-2015) was one of the strongest Soviet super heavyweights of the 1970s.
Aslanbek Yenaldiev competed in the 110kg+ class for the Spartak Club of Ordzhanikidze. On the national level, he won the USSR Championships in 1977, the USSR Cup in 1975, 1976, 1979 and 1980, won gold medals in the USSR Championships in snatch (1975, 1979) and clean-and-jerk (1975, 1976, 1979, 1980).
On the international arena, Aslanbek was mostly remembered as a back-up of legendary Vasily Alexeev in the super heavyweight class. For the majority of fans, he looked almost like “mini me” of Alexeev and the common opinion was that he wasn’t ambitious enough to challenge the Legend and that, in a way, suited both athletes. Needless to say, that view was not fair to Aslanbek.
In the last few years I managed to speak to many members of Team USSR Weightlifting of the 1970s and ALL of them had a very high opinion of Aslanbek Yenaldiev and named him as a true gentleman and one of the best best teammate they ever had.
With Team CCCP Weightlifting, Yenaldiev became a vice champion of the World and Europe in 1977 and won several Friendship Cups (1977, 1978)
Aslanbek Yenaldiev is a member of Club 500 with 525kg total of 3 lifts (180+145+200). His bodyweight at the time was… 119.7kg.
In a 2-lifts era, Aslanbek Yenaldiev personal best was 435kg total (187.5+247.5) on December 18, 1976 in Sverdlovsk, Russia. His bodyweight was 151.7kg.