People on a podium

Kiribati’s Katoatau sets new weightlifting record as Australia dominate

WL 2 | February 24, 2024


Experienced Kiribati weightlifter Ruben Katoatau finally got his first Pacific Games gold medals at Maranatha Hall on Wednesday, on a day that was otherwise dominated by Australian weightlifters.

Katoatau’s record came in the men’s 81kg division, lifting 123kg in snatch and 171kg in clean and jerk with a total lift of 303kg.

“First of all, massive thanks to the Heavenly Father for giving me strength during my competition,” Katoatau told the Pacific Games News Service.

“Though it was challenging, gold is achieved and it is what I have been dreaming of for the last eight months of preparation with my teammates and coach,” he added.

Australian weightlifter Rory Scott scooped silver in the same event, lifting 131kg in the snatch and 170kg in Clean and Jerk with a total lift of 301kg, while New Caledonia’s Sylvain Duclos settled for bronze.

In the women’s 71kg division, 23-year-old Australian weightlifter Jacqueline Nichele also collected three gold medals ahead of Nauru’s Maximina Uepa (silver) and Australia’s Sarah Cochrane (bronze).

“It’s rewarding with all the training and all the hard work I’ve been putting into it,” Nichele said.

“When it comes to working out something difficult and how to solve it, I have to put all efforts into ensuring my best goal is achieved.”

The day’s final event saw another Australian, Olivia Shelton, claim gold in the women’s 76 kg division in spectacular fashion in her third and final attempt at the clean and jerk, lifting 119kg with a total lift of 215kg. Samoa’s Avatu Opeloge settled for silver while Merean Atantaake of Marshall Islands collected the division’s bronze.

Weightlifting continues on Thursday from 10am.

By Jeffson Aghi, Emilyn Ramofolo, Shoreyann Ragoso, Melinda Alu and Bradly Tugumana, Pacific Games News Service

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