Toua sisters dominate


TEAM PNG weightlifting set two new Pacific Games records at the Mini Pacific Games in Port Vila, Vanuatu, yesterday.
Speaking from Port Vila, chef de mission Emma Waiwai said weightlifter Dika Toua set a new Pacific Games record, lifting 110kg in the clean and jerk in the women’s 53kg, and made a clean sweep of gold medals in the snatch, clean and jerk, and overall.
Sisters Thelma and Dika Toua raked in six gold medals for PNG in Monday morning’s opening session of the Vanuatu 2017 women’s weightlifting event.
Papua New Guinea’s weightlifting medal haul continued on Monday afternoon, with Morea Baru claiming three gold medals in the men’s 62kg snatch, clean and jerk and overall.
Waiwai said Thelma Toua, competing in the women’s 48kg division, lifted 65kg in the snatch and 85kg in the clean and jerk to claim the three gold medals on offer.
“We knew we were going to take back three medals each, and the performance today was on top of it and we’re really happy,” said a very confident Dika, who showed a great deal of power and grit.
While the sisters have won medals together in the same event before and support each other in competition, they say they remained focused on themselves as individuals.
Dika expressed some disappointment over her performance in the snatch, but was all smiles about setting a new milestone in the clean and jerk, adding to her growing list of records. Younger sister Thelma was delighted in winning her first gold medal at these Games and propelling Papua New Guinea to the top of the medal tally.
Dika said the sisters hoped to be role models for young girls and women around the Pacific as they continued to break barriers and use their weightlifting platform to change people’s perspectives on women’s ability to compete in elite sports after becoming mothers.
“I am a mother of two and I think of mothers who have come back after having their babies…there are changes happening in the Pacific,” Dika said. “Before, we used to think that when you’re married and have children, that’s it for you, but now it has changed and I think I’ve broken that barrier.
“And I’m glad that the ones (female weightlifters) coming behind me are following that trend.”