Yurik Sarkisyan from Armenia took up weightlifting at 13-years-old and soon rose to be one of the top bantamweight weightlifters in the Soviet Union. Sarkisyan was selected to the Soviet national team in 1979 and won silver at his first international tournament, the 1980 Olympic Games. As a bantamweight Sarkisyan won silver at the 1980 World Championships. After the Olympics Sarkisyan switched to featherweight and became the world's top featherweight in the early 1980s. Sarkisyan was World Champion in 1982 and 1983, taking silver in 1985, 1987 and 1991 and bronze in 1981 and 1993. Sarkisyan was European champion in 1982 and 1983, winning silver in 1980, 1981, 1984-86 and 1991, and was also Soviet featherweight champion in 1983-84 and 1987, taking silver in 1982. He won the Soviet bantamweight cup in 1979 and featherweight cup in 1980. In 1979 and 1980 Sarkisyan set seven bantamweight world records, four in clean & jerk and three in total, and, between 1981 and 1984, set 10 featherweight world records, three in snatch, three in clean & jerk and four in total.
In 1993, while competing at the World Championships in Melbourne, Australia and representing his native Armenia, Sarkisyan was invited to stay in Australia by the Australian weightlifting officials and was later offered Australian citizenship. Representing his new country, Sarkisyan competed at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and won gold at the 2002 and silver at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. After finishing his sporting career Sarkisyan worked as a weightlifting coach in Australia, coaching his son David among others. In 2007 Sarkisyan was elected to the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.
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