3 Nov 2018

Sport: Gold medalist refuses to represent Fiji again

11:22 am on 3 November 2018

Fiji's 2018 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist has ruled out representing the country again.

Fiji weightlifter Eileen Cikamatana

Fiji weightlifter Eileen Cikamatana Photo: RNZ Pacific/Vinnie Wylie

Eileen Cikamatana was part of the Levuka weightlifting community that has now split away from Weightlifting Fiji claiming the national body has mistreated and bullied their athletes.

Last week the breakaway Fiji Weightlifters Association, which has no international affiliation, was created in response to their greivances not being addressed.

Cikamatana said Weightlifting Fiji had tried to force athletes to return to Fiji to train and hired an international coach against their wishes.

"First they didn't consult me and then my mum told me that the new coach is in Fiji," she said.

"How does that work? After the athlete is doing the work, how would you feel if someone just came over and just took over your family without even telling you that they are doing that for you?"

"The coaches are part of my family, they are like my fathers, they are my fathers in the sport," Cikamatana said.

She was adamant that she had now had enough of trying to work with the national body.

"I will wait for three years if I work out and if I decide what country to represent then I will be back looking for another country.

"Hopefully it will work out sooner or later. But Fiji is out of the question because what they did to me was unforgivable," Cikamatana said.

The New Caledonia-based lifter said the final straw was when the athletes were told to apologise and asked to sign forms accepting blame for the split and promising to return to Fiji.

"We didn't do anything wrong and we have to apologise and then they tell us to relocate to Suva and train with a Weightlifting Fiji-approved coach, including me," she said.

"They sent me that email and the form for me to sign and they they say in the media that they didn't tell me to relocate to Fiji immediately."

Cikamatana said she was confident there would be no regrets about her decision.

"I am strong with the decision because it is my own decision, no one decided for me. I am happy with it because I know it will be a good future for me if I do the right thing and not follow what people tell me what to do."