A man doing weightlifting

NZ’s David Liti finally wins Pacific Games weightlifting medal

cropped IMG 1911 | June 15, 2024
Despite tough competition from Sanele Mao (above), NZ’s David Liti won gold in the men’s 109+kg. Photos: Terence Hunumeme, Pacific Games News Service

The Sol2023 Pacific Games’ final day of weightlifting ended with a fabulous contest for the men’s 109+kg between David Liti of New Zealand and Sanele Mao of Samoa at Maranatha Hall on Friday.

Liti emerged as the champion, bagging the gold medal lifting 182kg in the snatch, 223 kg for the clean and jerk, and a total of 405kg.

The supporters were excited to watch these two competitive representatives compete for the gold medal. Unfortunately for Mao, he could not lift his second and third attempts at the clean and jerk, which saw Liti took advantage and claim gold with only his second attempt at the clean and jerk, setting a Pacific Games new record for snatch with a 223kg lift.

Sol2023 is Liti’s third Pacific Games, but his first win.

“I am very happy; this is my third Pacific Games appearance and my first time to have won gold. I am super thankful for my coach and team,” he told the Pacific Games News Service.

“I am also thankful to the Samoa weightlifting head coach, Jerry (Wallwork), because you always bring out these new boys from Samoa, and they are always very good, and that’s what keeps me having my honest work, and I don’t like to relax too much.”

Mao claimed silver for Samoa with a total lift of 395kg, while Malachi Faamausili-Fala of Cook Islands took bronze with a total lift of 330kg.

Taniela Rainibogi of Fiji opened the last day of the competition with three gold medals and the title of Oceania Champion in the Men’s 109kg senior category, with a 165kg lift for snatch, 192kg for clean and jerk, and 357kg in total.

Mathew Lydement from Australia claimed silver with a total lift of 333kg and the bronze medal went to Tamiano Lemo of Wallis and Futuna with a total lift of 328kg.

“First, I want to thank the Almighty for giving the strength and thank all the supporters who came out in numbers; I really appreciate it. All the supporters back at home, all the families and friends,” Rainibogi said.

“In this competition, it has been a long time coming, and it was a tough preparation, but I still managed to achieve something.”

In the Women’s 87+kg senior category, Iuniarra Sipaia of Samoa claimed three gold medals and was  the Oceania Champion with a 107kg snatch lift and 145kg for the clean and jerk, which totalled 252kg.

She said: “First of all, I want to thank God for this opportunity. I really appreciate it myself. I tried my best, and I am so happy when I compete here in Solomon Islands.

“I would like to dedicate this medal to my family; some of them passed away this year, so I give this medal to them. Thanks to my coach and my team, thank you for supporting me.”

Sipaia’s Samoan teammate, Lesila Fiapule, settled for silver by lifting a total of 243kg, while Susana Nimo of New Zealand claimed bronze with a total lift of 219kg.

By Jacklyn Kutia, Emilyn Ramofolo and Shoreyann Ragoso, Pacific Games News Service

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