Weightlifter Tulo to lead Team Fiji
SENSATIONAL weightlifter Manueli Tulo will be Team Fiji's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Pacific Games in Noumea, New Caledonia tomorrow.
The 20-year-old Levuka lad, who is ranked number one in the Oceania, is one of Fiji's top gold medal prospects.
Tulo is region's finest weightlifter in the junior and senior 56 kilogram category.
His dad Sunia Uataletale, who first received the news from Times Sport, said he was proud of his son's achievement.
Uataletale says Tulo has been the family pride and hopes he lives up to their expectations and do well in the Noumea Games.
"I'm so happy to hear the news. I didn't know that he was given such a big honour. It's a great achievement for him and the family. We are proud of him," he said.
Uataletale said his family was looking forward to see Tulo and her sister Seruwaia Malani's performance at the Games.
"Tulo called me last Sunday and told me that he was ready for the Games. I know he would do well and I hope his sister also does well in her category."
Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) said the New Caledonia-based weightlifter was a good role model for aspiring athletes in the country.
"He is unquestionably very committed to his sport and is a full time training athlete at the Oceania Weightlifting Centre in Noumea, where he trains under the guidance of Paul Coffa," a statement from FASANOC said.
"He is focused and epitomizes sportsmanship to the highest degree. (He is) a great ambassador for Team Fiji and Fiji."
Fact File: Tulo's Achievement
Winner of 2008 FASANOC Sports Male Athlete of the Year award as well as the 2008 Fiji Sports Council Sportsman of the Year.
Winning a Bronze medal at the 2008 World Weightlifting Cup in Samoa.
Winning 2 Gold medals at the South Pacific Championships that was held in conjunction with the World Cup.
Winning Gold in the Men's 56kg division at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India
2009 Pacific Mini Games, Cooks Islands - Triple Gold medalist
2010 - Tulo not only won the Oceania Championship Junior and Senior Gold Medals, but was also the number one performer in the 56Kg category. Through his performances in 2010 he has been the only Fijian to ever be invited to compete at the prestigious 9th Annual Arnold Schwarzenegger International Weightlifting tournament held in March this year.
2011 - Arafura Games, Senior and Oceania Senior Gold Medalist
Ranked number 1 in Oceania Junior and Senior ranking.