20 Mar 2006

Pacific athletes more visible on international scene, says PNG Olympic head

4:35 pm on 20 March 2006

The secretary general of Papua New Guinea's National Olympic Committee, Sir John Dawanicura, says Pacific athletes are more visible now on the international scene and their performances will improve over the years.

Twelve Pacific countries are taking part at the 18th Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and have won two medals - a silver to PNG in the women's weightlifting, and a bronze to Fiji in the rugby union sevens.

But Sir John Dawanicura believes this is just the start.

"We've progressed within the last ten years and we've had some great moments in the Olympics through Tonga's efforts in boxing. All of the athletes are doing us proud. If they get the personal best, their administrations are very happy with that personal best."

Meanwhile, in the biggest surprise of the Commonwealth Games Weightlifting competition to date, the 77kg favourite Yukio Peter from Nauru was eliminated after three attempts to lift 140kg in the Snatch.

Peter was the highest ranked weightlifter across all categories competing at the Games and was expected to claim the gold.

He dropped the bar on his first attempt and used the time allocated to his second attempt to seek treatment for cramp.

Peter again failed on his third and final lift and was eliminated from the competition.

Faavae Faauliuli from Samoa set a national record for the Snatch, lifting 126kg.