Sport: PNG's Kari eyes Commonwealth title defence

8:42 am on 23 December 2017

Papua New Guinea weightlifter Steven Kari has his sights set firmly on defending his Commonwealth Games gold medal after making a winning return to top level competition.

The 24 year-old took a break from the sport after the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby and did not compete at last year's Rio Olympics.

Steven Kari had a golden run in the 94kg category

Steven Kari had a golden run in the 94kg category Photo: RNZI / Vinnie Wylie

He said after an intense few years, which included his Commonwealth triumph in Glasgow, his body needed a rest.

"Eight months I've been training really hard now so I'm back in form again so I'm looking at Gold Coast again...I have to take time off because I've been training really hard and my body can't even lift so I have to take time off to recover then now I have to come back again. Now I'm back again so I feel better to lift, more better than before," he said.

Kari won three gold medals at the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu earlier this month, in the men's 94kg division, and also came out on top at the Commonwealth Championships in September.

He said all his energy was now focused on being at his best in time for the Commonwealth Games in April on the Gold Coast.

"The champion is from 2014 so 2018 I have to defend my title, so there is people hungry enough to win gold but I just trained (for) eight months now so I will try my best to defend my title," he said.