The National, Monday February 9th, 2015
By FRANCIS RODNEY PULU
STEVEN Kari showed he is still the best weightlifter in the country with a typically powerful performance at the national trials in Port Moresby over the weekend.
The 21-year-old turned out at the National High Performance Centre on Saturday and wowed those in attendance with his dynamic lifting during the Papua New Guinea Weightlifting Federation event.
Importantly, Kari pleased the people that mattered in federation president Sir John Dawanincura and Oceania Weightlifting Institute director Paul Coffa with his fluid performance.
The weekend trial was the first time the Hanuabada native had lifted in front of an audience since the Glasgow Commonwealth Games last July.
It was the first time Kari performed in front of weightlifting federation officials and his fellow national teammates.
The Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 94-kilogram division easily claimed top honours, lifting a total of 330kg and showed his form had not regressed as some, including Coffa, had feared would be the case. In yesterday’s lift Kari lifted 120kg in his first snatch, followed by 130kg on the second and 140kg on the final.
In the clean and jerk, he lifted 160kg on his first attempt, 180kg on the second and 190kg on the final lift.
Kari’s gold medal winning lift during last year’s Commonwealth Games was 344kg.
Coffa said he was pleased to see Kari performing well and said he wished him all the best in his lead-up to the Pacific Games.
The Noumea-based coach said Kari had a lot of potential and he did not want negative publicity to affect his training.
“There’s been quite a bit of talk on the issue but I just want to say I love Steven and he has been like a son to me in his time at the institute,” Coffa said.
“I treat all my lifters the same and I want him to do well. I want the best for him.”
Coffa said Kari was in good form and “on the right track to get the result during the Games”.
Weightlifting president Sir John Dawanincura said Kari came out and showed what he was doing at training.
Kari said he had no grudges against anyone and was there as part of the lead-up training and competition to the Games.