Irvinestown’s Christine McCann claimed a gold at the European Masters Weightlifting Championships, and is now set for the World Championships in Poland.

McCann triumphed in the W55/-64kg category as a member of a 59 strong Ireland team, winning the category by a mere one kilogram to top the podium ahead of lifters from Finland, Portugal and Denmark.

The Fermanagh lifter qualified for the European Championships by winning the Irish title and surpassing the qualifying standards for the European event.

McCann weighed in on the morning of the tournament four kilograms below her weight limit, but despite being one of the lighter contestants in her 55-59 age group, she went on to top the 64kg category, which saw the lifters complete three snatch lifts and three clean and jerk lifts.

Her gold medal was two spots better than her last attempt at the European Championships in 2018, when she claimed bronze.

Prior to the tournament she had hoped there was a chance she would match that performance, but she admitted she was surprised to come away with the top prize.

“I was just hoping I might podium,” she revealed.

“The Irish team coach, Sean Brown, decided what I was going to lift and I didn’t know what I was lifting. Whatever he told me, I lifted, and I won by one kilo.

“Now I have qualified for the World Championships. I wasn’t going to follow that up, but I will follow this one through to the end.”

Her eight years of Cross Fit training proved crucial to her success, and was inspirational in getting her to the tournament.

Olympic lifting forms a key part of her regular Cross Fit programme, and aside from focussing on her nutrition for four weeks prior to the start of the tournament, she admitted she made very few alterations to her training schedule.

“I wouldn’t profess to be a weightlifter,” she said.

“I do Cross Fit five days a week and this was part of it. I didn’t do any specialist training.

“You do your Olympic lifting, and power lifting, and cardio as part of Cross Fit, and that is where the interest would have come from, but it’s a very technical sport.

“It’s not like Cross Fit where you can go in and haul the weights around you. There are very technical things and if you don’t do that then that is you beaten.”

As it turned out, nothing and no one was able to beat Christine to the top spot, and her win has paved the way for a crack at the World Championships, which take place in Poland in August.