VETERAN Dika Toua made Olympic history as the first female weightlifter to compete in five Olympic Games, finishing 10th out of 14 competitors in Tokyo, Japan, on Saturday.
The Hanuabada villager is not new to making history after she became the first woman to compete in Olympic weightlifting in the 2000 Games.
Toua competed in the 49kg division at the Tokyo International Forum in the first day of competition.
The 37-year-old was the oldest athlete in the field and had to change weight categories due to the new Olympic weight divisions, having formerly lifted in the 53kg event.
The field of 14 athletes included China’s Zhihui Hou, senior world record holder in the snatch and total, and Indi’s Chanu Saikhom Mirabai, world record holder in the clean and jerk.
Fourteen athletes compete in each weight class, split into two groups based on previous combined personal records (PRs). Those with higher PRs make up Group A, while remaining athletes make up Group B. Group B completes both rounds of competition before Group A begins. Toua was placed in Group B.
In her first attempt, Toua snatched 69kg followed by 72kg in her second attempt. She had attempted 76kg in her final attempt but was not able to complete the lift to settle for 72kg.
In the clean and jerk, Toua attempted 95kgs in her first attempt but was unable to complete the lift. She was able to hold 95kgs in her second attempt.
In an attempt to improve her overall total, she had attempted 100kg but was not able to hold on to complete the lift as she settled for 95kg to finish with a total of 167kg.
She finished fourth in Group B and tenth overall after the completion of both groups.
“Everyone was proud of Dika’s achievements especially as her mentor and long-time coach Paul Coffa, who was unable to travel to Japan,” Team Papua New Guinea chef de mission Tamzin Wardley said.
“Dika holds a special place in the hearts of the weightlifting community.
“After two decades of participation at the highest levels around the world, she is a well-known and a much-admired personality up on the weightlifting platform.
“We have members of the press and officials coming up to anyone in a Team PNG uniform to tell us how much they admire her.
“Her role as an ambassador for our country can’t be overstated.”
The gold in the event was won by China with a combined total of 210kg.