Gold for PNG


PAPUA New Guinea’s Morea Baru broke the Oceania and Pacific Games 62kg division snatch records on his way to claiming the gold in the Pacific Mini Games weightlifting competition in Port Vila, Vaunatu, yesterday.
Baru snatched 129kg.
The previous Oceania record of 128.5kg was set by Australia’s Yurik Sarkisian in 1999 in Melbourne while the Pacific Games record of 127kg was held by Nauru’s Marcus Stephen and also set 18-years ago in Guam.
A fired up Baru cleared 129kg, two more than Stephen’s old mark as the Nauruan, who is the president of the Oceania Weightlifting Federation looked on from the crowd in the venue at Epauto, Port Vila.
Stephen was acknowledged by the crowd and the tournament organisers as his record fell. Baru also won the clean and jerk lift with a 120kg effort which brought his total to 284kg ahead of Fiji’s Poama Qaqa, who totaled 237kg, in second place.
Nauru’s Ezekiel Moses finished in third place with a toal of 226kg.
Baru said he saw his win as a great lead up for next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
“Now that I’ve broken the Oceania record, I’m really happy about that as all my hard work has paid off. I’m looking forward now to the Commonwealth Games where I hope to make PNG proud again,” Baru said. Baru’s three gold medals add to Dika and Thelma Toua’s six gold medals won earlier in the day to bring PNG’s total after the first day of competition to nine.
Other competitions for Team PNG included the table tennis team event on Monday and yesterday morning’s opening rounds.
The PNG karate team and boxing officials arrived in Port Vila yesterday while the beach volleyball team landed on Monday in time for the opening ceremony.
Today’s events include golf, table tennis, beach volleyball and tennis.
Weightlifting will see Toua Udia compete in the men’s 69kg division.