By HENRY MORABANG
THE Oceania weightlifting talent identification programme has surpassed expectations, according to veteran coach Paul Coffa
Coffa, who runs the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in Noumea, New Caledonia, said the programme, which he started five years ago, saw 5000 potential lifters identified over the period but this year the programme surpassed the mark, attracting more than 7600 entries. “We have reached a staggering 7670 entries coming from 12 countries and from 97 schools (4433 boys and 3237 girls),” Coffa said.
“We have achieved these astonishing figures with the help of many individual federations,” he said.
Coffa said weightlifting federations were behind the initiative and the results spoke for itself.
“This is a unique programme in the world of weightlifting,” Coffa said.
“The programme was implemented by the Oceania Weightlifting Federation five years ago to identify talented students throughout the schools of the Oceania region, and in particular, the Pacific Island nations.”
Coffa said what was amazing was that in a short period of time, the national federations had been able to carry on the work that they had done at the school level, producing the next generation of champion weightlifters.
“It is rewarding to see so many of these students who have participated in the programme competing in regional and major international events.”
Lifters from the programme have taken part a several major events including the Oceania championships, Olympic youth qualification, Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Olympic Youth Games in Nanjing, the Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia, Commonwealth Championships and World Youth Championships.
Coffa thanked International Weightlifting Federation president Dr Tamas Ajan for his support of the programme.
By HENRY MORABANG