Samoan weightlifting sensation Vaipava Ioane made his return to the Pacific Games on Tuesday and showed just why he is among the best weightlifters in the region after sweeping all three medals in the men’s 67kg division to open day two of the Sol2023 Pacific Games weightlifting competition at Maranatha Hall.
Ioane dominated his weight division lifting 166kg in the clean and jerk and 120kg in the snatch, setting a new Oceania record.
“I feel great and happy to represent Samoa and I’m just thankful to the father above for the strength and also for all these victories in my career.
The 35-year-old dedicated today’s victory to his wife and thanked the rest of his family for their support while he is competing in Honiara.
Nauru’s Ditto Ika won the division’s silver medal ahead of Solomon Islands’ Stan Donga, who followed the path of his younger sister, Rowena Donga, who also won her first Pacific Games medal the previous day.
Tuesday also saw two Pacific Games records broken, starting with Marshall Islands’ USA-based athlete Mathlynn Sasser, who set a new bar in the women’s 59kg division, lifting 95kg in the snatch and winning three gold medals for her country of birth.
“I feel good, it has been a long time coming in training and getting ready, and I’m so happy to be here in Solomon Islands,” she said.
“If you want to do something you have to go for it, you have to sacrifice a lot of things so keep fighting no matter the ups and downs, the tears keep going and they will be worth it at the end,” she said.
The day’s third medal ceremony belonged to Samoan junior weightlifting champion John Tafi, who also set a new Pacific Games record in the men’s 73kg division, lifting 136kg in the snatch and scooping three gold medals for his country.
‘’I am very happy for this opportunity and was striving for the gold medal for our country back home, especially for my parents because my family is poor, so I treated it as motivation,” he said.
“I came here, I worked hard to do my best here and now I have finally passed the test.
“If you want to get gold you go to training, you have to work hard, keep your mind straight, make sure, you are fit and stay on your territory and have faith”, he said.
Other results on Tuesday in the women’s 64kg saw Australia’s Darcy Kay and Brenna Kean winning gold for Australia in the snatch and clean and jerk respectively, and New Zealand’s Emma McIntyre winning gold in the total lift with 190kg.
Weightlifting resumes at 10am on Wednesday and continues until Friday.
By Timothy Inifiri Jnr, Shoreyann Ragoso, Meleseini Tufui, Emelyn Ramofo, Jacklyn Kutia and Melinda Alu, Pacific Games News Service