3 Sep 2013

Sport: Samoan lifters primed for big medal haul

9:58 am on 3 September 2013

Samoa's weightlifters are in line for a big medal haul at the Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna as the competition kicks off proper today.

Seven men and three women will line-up over the coming three days, including the Opeloge trio Mary, Petunu and Tovia, siblings of Commonwealth Games gold medallists Ele and Niusila.

Qualification for next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is another big motivation, with most of the Pacific's top lifters present in Wallis.

The national coach of the Samoa weightlifting team, Jerry Wallwork, is confident of his lifters' chances.

"We've got some highly ranked: we've got a few lifters who are ranked in the top two in the Commonwealth, we've got a girl who is ranked fourth in the world now - her name is Mary Opeloge, the younger sister - so yes I expect them to win gold here and then the main focus is next year, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. To repeat what we did four years ago, winning three gold medals, if we can repeat or better I'm very happy."

Jerry Wallwork says if lifters fail to reach the qualifying standard for Glasgow they will have another opportunity at November's Commonwealth Championships in Malaysia.