By HENRY MORABANG
WEIGHTLIFTER Steven Kari is the first athlete to qualify on merit for the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August.
Currently at Oceania Weightlifting Institute in Noumea, New Caledonia, the younger brother of female lifter Rita, lifted an additional 14kg during the first official test last weekend to put him into medal contention at the Youth Olympic Games.
The Karis are training under Paul Coffa in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, in October.
Coffa was particularly impressed with Steven, who snatched 117kg and clean and jerk 147kg for a total of 264kg.
His previous best was 110kg snatch, 140kg clean and jerk for a total of 250kg.
He said Steven’s attitude and training ethics were very commendable.
Coffa said Steven had not missed one single lift in training since he first enrolled at the institute. And for a 16-year-old boy, this is really something.
“I feel he has a great chance in Singapore, and he will achieve 280kg by August,” Coffa said.
However, his sister, Rita missed out on 105kg. She snatched 78kg and clean and jerk 100kg, but it is too early as she can lift 200kg in New Delhi and that would be a medal in her division.
Already, U15 girls’ soccer team and swimmer Ian Nakmai have qualified for the Youth Olympic Games.
Other sports which have been invited under the universality placing include weightlifting (female), tennis (female), swimming (male) represented by Nakmai and athletics (male).
PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee deputy general secretary Auvita Rapilla said this week that weightlifting would try to get Steven to qualifyand he just got the nod by the by Oceania Weighting Federation (OWF) for the Olympic Games in August while boxing will have to qualify through AIBA Youth Boxing championships.
Meanwhile, the PNG Weightlifting Federation will be sending a team to the Oceania Championships Youth Olympic qualifiers in Fiji from May 4-7.
Weightlifting Frank Robby confirmed yesterday that he would be travelling with the team to the championships to officiate and qualify for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India in October.
Robby’s trip is funded by OWF.