Solomon Islands’ golden girl, Jenly Tegu Wini, made headlines as she won the first three gold medals of the Sol2023 Pacific Games at Maranatha Hall on Monday, just hours after carrying the host nation’s flag in Sunday night’s opening ceremony.
Wini claimed three golds in the women’s 55kg category, lifting 82kg in the snatch and topping it off with a new Oceania record of 108kg in the clean and jerk, also claiming gold for the total weight lifted.
Wini also received a trio of golds in the Oceania Championships, which is running in conjunction with the Pacific Games.
Speaking after a dominant performance in front of the many local vibrant supporters who turned out in numbers to witness their icon, Wini told the Pacific Games News Service: “I am so happy to win these three gold medals for my country. This is what I have been training hard for.
“It was exciting and at the same time an emotional moment for me to compete in front of my family, friends and everyone who came today.”
The veteran weightlifter also thanked the local supporters for coming out in numbers.
A day which saw many records tumble started with PNG’s Morea Baru setting a new Pacific Games record, lifting 123kg in the men’s 61kg category to give his home country the gold in snatch, but disappointingly failed to reach the podium in the clean and jerk and total lift, which were won by Solomon Islands’ Brown Chester Ramohaka.
“I am happy for this medal and record but very disappointed with the performance today because this is the first time that I was totally worn out”, Baru said.
Mike Riklon also made history for Marshall Islands in the men’s 55kg, claiming his country’s first ever Pacific Games gold medal in weightlifting.
“I feel happy and proud about winning this gold medal for my country, because this will be the first time for Marshall Islands to win gold in the Pacific Games and is big history for the sport,” he told the Pacific Games News Service.
“I was very happy that I had the opportunity to perform and super proud of my country. Thank you, Solomon Islands, for putting on a great show and thanks for having us in your country”, said Riklon.
Other notable results from day one saw Pacific Games and Commonwealth champion Dika Toua defending her three golds from Samoa 2019 in the 49kg category. Her sister Thelma claimed silver in the snatch, bronze in the clean and jerk, and bronze overall in the same category.
Weightlifting continues until Friday at Maranatha Hall, starting at 10am each day.
By Timothy Inifiri Jnr, Emelyn Ramofolo, Shoreyann Ragoso, Liah Mason and Jacklyn Kutia, Pacific Games News Service