Commonwealth Games 2018: Meet NZ's 'Big Bear'

2:13 pm on 1 April 2018

Like a number of his weightlifting teammates, David Liti was competitive in another sport before he took up lifting.

The 21-year-old played rugby, until his weightlifting coach asked, "Do you want to be just another number?"

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Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Dubbed the "big bear" by New Zealand high performance manager Simon Kent, Liti competes in the men's 105kg+ division. He was the first New Zealand junior weightlifter to ever clean and jerk over 200kg.

"My frst year of lifting I hated every minute of it. But now I know I'm as strong as my weakest link."

Liti believes he still has time to become a world class lifter - he's targetting the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

"Little, baby steps, but I will get there one day."

Here on the Gold Coast, he's hoping for a podium finish. "It's all fun and games until game day," he says.

"They're talking about Samoa and Pakistan taking it out, but I'm not going to give that up easy.

"I'm from Tonga, what do they expect?"