30 Jul 2014

Sport: Silver and bronze for Pacific lifters

8:40 am on 30 July 2014

There were mixed emotions for Samoa and Fiji, who both won weightlifting medals in the women's 75kg division in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Samoa's Mary Opeloge was unable to repeat her gold medal effort from last year's Commonwealth Championships, finishing second behind Canada's Marie-Eve Beauchemin-Nadeau, who lifted a new Games Record of 250kg.

Apolonia Vaivai finished third with a total lift of 209kg, earning Fiji's first medal in Glasgow, and first Commonwealth Games medal since 2006.

Coach and national weightlifting manager Della Shaw says she always believed the 23 year old was a big chance of making it onto the dais.

"It's overwhelming, she's excited and we're all excited over her performance. Especially when Fiji is just coming back into the Commonwealth Games. She grabbed the opportunity and because Apolonia has been training very hard and just been accepted back in the Commonwealth Games it was something we were looking forward to".

The Pacific also has a strong chance of adding to their medal tally with PNG flagbearer Steven Kari competing in the men's 94kg division.

The Pacific Games champions is ranked number one in the Commonwealth and Chef De Mission Emma Waiwai says hopes are high.

"I spoke to him today because we had a couple of our weightlifters competing today. I assumed he'd been down there [but] he said, "No, it's my rest day today. I've decided to stay back because I've got a big event tomorrow". I said, "Oh, ok", so from day one when I first spoke to him when he arrived he is silently confident and he knows what to do I suppose in getting there so we're just waiting to see what happens".

The PNG Chef De Mission Emma Waiwai.