Weight-Lifters lead gold medal rush

Bill Fotofili,Suva | Wednesday, December 13, 2017
WHILE we share in the limelight of the amazing feat of our courageous weight-lifters at the Vanuatu Pacific Mini Games, we cannot overlook the fact that this minor sport of weight-lifting has again done the nation proud, hoisting our beloved banner blue and the national anthem sung with pride each time a gold medal is won.
Weight-lifter Manueli Tulo has won three gold 
medals for Fiji with 
Apolonia Vaivai and 
Eileen Cikamatana. 
 Picture: RAMA.
Weight-lifter Manueli Tulo has won three gold medals for Fiji with Apolonia Vaivai and Eileen Cikamatana. Picture: RAMA.

Yes, it's nine in total, by far, the biggest haul of gold by any of our sports team at the games.

In fact, our star weight-lifters, namely Eileen Cikamatana, Apolonia Vaivai and Manueli Tulo, scooping three gold medals each in their weight categories, deserve all the praise and accolades.

Thanks to their combined haul, Team Fiji has managed to make a head start in the medal tally count.

As of Tuesday (12/12/17) Fiji's standing of (16 gold) is second behind New Caledonia. Take note that is 56 per cent (9/16) of the gold won is from weight-lifting.

For a minor sport, this achievement is incredible, isn't it.

Based on current form, it is obvious the minor sports are outshining our more favoured and popular sports, such as rugby sevens (runners-up (silver) and soccer.

In short, our weight-lifters have really been punching above their weights.

Moreover, they become role models to other sports showcasing what patriotism, sheer determination and total commitment can bring.

For instance, just look at Cikamatana. After winning gold and breaking her own Commonwealth record (women's 90 kg category; 143kg clean and jerk lift), she is back at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in New Caledonia, where her coach Paul Coffais based.

She is wasting no time in preparations to defend her title at next year's Commonwealth Games in Australia.

As the saying goes: "the early bird catches the worm."

After the sterling performance in Vanuatu, Cikamatana's coach is even contemplating a shot at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

Coincidentally, our national sevens heroes will be defending their title there, but would it be nice for our wonder girl in weight-lifting to create history and win another Olympic gold medal, this time coming from an individual and minor sport.

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