Lifters off to Mini Games


Papua New Guinea’s six elite weightlifters based at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in New Caledonia are expecting to win nine gold medals in the first day of lifting at the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu starting next week.
PNG weightlifting president Sir John Dawanincura was basing his prediction on the confidence of Paul Coffa, who is the Oceania Weightlifting Federation coach.
Sir John said: “We don’t make predictions simply because we cannot take anything for granted on the actual day of competition.
“Weightlifting starts on Tuesday, Dec 5 and based on our athletes’ training, we are more than confident that the first day’s gold medals are expected from Thelma Toua in the 48kg category, Dika Toua 53kg category and Morea Baru in the men’s 62Kg category.”
They are expected to take gold in the snatch, the clean and jerk and the total in their respective categories.
The following day, Toua Udia will be lifting in the 77kg category and he expects to win gold or silver.
“Steven Kari in the 94kg category is expected to pull in three more gold medals,” Sir John said.
“Also we have young Lorraine Harry competing in the 90kg category, and will be lifting against one of the greatest teenage lifters in the world today — Eileen Cikamatana of Fiji.
“Eileen is also based at the Oceania Institute. Lorraine is expected to come second and haul in three silver medals.”
Sir John said PNG’s six lifters will succeed with at least 12 gold medals with the remaining medals in silver.
He said the six lifters were training well at the Oceania Institute and most have produced, in training, their best ever performances.
“Our six lifters are all focussed on the Commonwealth Games next year,” Sir John said.
Kari and Toua are aiming at winning back-to-back gold medals at Gold Coast in April while Baru was expected to take gold in the 62kg category. Sir John said Baru, the favourite, was well ahead of his rival, Dimitris Minisadis from Cyprus who won the gold medal at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“That is our vision based on all of our lifters doing their personal bests in training under Paul Coffa, and in addition, being respectively ranked in the top seven in the Commonwealth, they have all qualified on merit to participate at the Commonwealth Games.”