Sport: Pacific Weightlifters shine in Glasgow
Weightlifting provided all eight medals for Pacific countries competing at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, including gold medals for Papua New Guinea and Kiribati.
Weightlifting was the biggest showcase for Pacific countries competing at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, accounting for all eight of the region's medals.
Papua New Guinea led the way with two golds, both of which came amidst controversy, with Kiribati, Samoa and Fiji also playing their part.
Vinnie Wylie reports:
Papua New Guinea lifter Dika Toua was the first and, in some ways, last Pacific athlete to win a medal at this year's Commonwealth Games. Competing in the women's 53 kilogram division, the 30-year-old was originally awarded the silver medal, matching her effort in Melbourne eight years ago. But a week later her status was upgraded after Nigeria's Chika Amalaha was stripped of the gold medal for failing a drugs test. Team PNG Chef De Mission Emma Waiwai is happy justice prevailed, but admitted some sympathy for the Nigerian.
EMMA WAIWAI: Initially I was upset because I believe that Dika should have won that gold but we can't complain and now that we have it we're so happy that's she has been recognised and rewarded for her achievements. I'm sorry for that young girl - she's really young. I know it's quite humiliating for her and I wouldn't want any of our athletes to be in that same position but I believe Dika came here to win that gold and for her to get it I think is a big achievement.
PNG flagbearer Steven Kari prevailed in the men's 94 kilogram division in dubious circumstances. The judging panel declared a no-lift on Kari's final clean and jerk attempt of 200 kilograms, after ruling his elbow had touched his knee. However, a few minutes later the decision was reversed, with replays indicating the original ruling was correct. Kiribati lifter David Katoatau created history by winning the country's first ever Commonwealth Games medal in the men's 105 kilogram division. Kiribati Chef De Mission Maata Yetzes says the gold medal winning effort has been a long time coming.
MAATA YETZES: At this time we were really confident in him. We were already informed by his coach at the [Oceania Weightlifting] Institute in Noumea and that's why we were really hoping and all of us kept our fingers crossed. All of Kiribati people's hope is on him because we know that he can do it and he's been away from his family only for this training and that's why this Glasgow 2014 is the time for him.
Samoa failed to repeat their golden performances from Delhi four years ago but still won silver medals for sisters Ele and Mary Opeloge while Vaipava Ioane picked up a bronze. Nauru lifter Itte Detenamo repeated his silver medal effort from the Delhi Games while Fiji marked their return to the Commonwealth fold with a bronze medal to Apolonia Vaivai. Coach and national weightlifting manager Della Shaw says she always believed the 23-year-old was a big chance of making it onto the dais.
DELLA SHAW: It's overwhelming, she's excited and we're all excited over her performance. Especially when Fiji is just coming back into the Commonwealth Games. She grabbed the opportunity and because Apolonia has been training very hard and just been accepted back in the Commonwealth Games it was something we were looking forward to.
Pacific nations say their next major focus is the Pacific Games in Port Moresby in July, while the next Commonwealth Games will be held on Australia's Gold Coast in 2018.
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