Weightlifters Rewrite Fiji Sporting History Books
Weightlifting Fiji achieved a huge milestone as the only sport to ever qualify two athletes on merit for any Olympics that Fiji has taken part in.
It also became the first Team Event to qualify for London; the qualification event being a Team Based Qualification.
Fiji has qualified to take one male and one female lifter to the London Olympic Games.
Fiji was competing with 17 other countries in the Oceania Championships in Samoa. This Championships was also the Continental Olympic Qualification Event.
The competition was between teams of 6 Men and 4 women lifters. The top 5 Men’s Team and the Top 4 Women’s team qualifies one lifter each.
Fiji has come a close third in the Men’s Event – slightly behind Australia and Kiribati. In the Women’s Event Fiji is placed third equal with Australia behind Samoa and Papua New Guinea.
On the Day 3 – Young rookie Mesake Raivui, in the 85kg weight category, lifted well beyond imagination with a personal best of 263kg (Snatch – 117kg; Clean & Jerk of 146kg) to finish 4th in the Olympic Qualifications.
Veteran Joe Vueti, in the 94kg lifted 257kg (Snatch 105kg and C&J of 152Kg) to finish 5th in his event.
FIJI’s strongest woman Apolonia Vaivai recorded a massive personal best of 193kg in the 75kg category with 86kg for snatch and 107kg for C&J to finish 3rd.
Their solid performances backed the earlier good performances by Fiji’s weightlifters to give a 3rd place in the Men’s event and also a 3rd in the Womens’ event
The Fiji Weightlifting Team also rewrote another history being the first ever Team to qualify for London. Weightlifting, while being an individual sport qualifies through Team events, as has been the case in Samoa.
The day in Samoa was not without its drama. Top lifters Niusila Opeloge and Faavae Faauliuli both gold medallists from the Delhi Commonwealth Games did not score any points for Samoa, costing them, the top weightlifting country, a place in London in the Men’s event.
Similarly Bronco Deiranauw of Nauru failed in his lifts in the 77kg, thus stopping Nauru from gaining a sport for London.
Fiji has Manueli Tulo and Paula Peniasi Taqua in the Men’s and Maria Liku and Apolonia Vaivai on its London squad list with Tulo and Liku its first preferences.
Training will step up another notch in the remaining seven weeks as weightlifters try and add another few kg’s to their lifts.
June 9th 2012