Samoa Weightlifters Win Gold and Break Records in Australia

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Don Opeloge

The high-performing Samoa weightlifting team continue it’s winning trail at International events, with 5 Gold medals, 5 new Oceania records and the Best Overall Male lifter trophy at the Australian International Open held in Canberra over the weekend.

Powered by the Samoa Water Authority as their major sponsor, the Samoa weightlifting team came away from the event with two Olympic qualified lifters and Coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork says they hope to qualify two more at the Vogue International and Olympic Qualifiers in Columbus Ohio this weekend.

Don Opeloge

Don Opleloge took the Gold in the 96kg men division, while setting 3 new Oceania records to secure the Best Overall Male lifter in the Australian Open.

The 20-year-old lifted 164kg in the snatch which was 74kg more than the silver medalist, breaking his own Oceania record of 160kg.

For the clean-and-jerk, Opeloge broke his own personal best and equalled the Commonwealth record of 210kg, while breaking his own Oceania record of 202kg.

Vaipava Nevo Ioane is Samoa’s second Olympic qualified lifter, taking out the Gold medal for the men’s 67kg division while setting a new Oceania record in the Clean n Jerk.

Vaipava Nevo Ioane

Speaking to Samoa Global News from Canberra this morning the man behind it all, Coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork says the team had prepared well in the lead up to the Australian Open.

“The results were outstanding; I couldn’t be more proud as a Coach. This tournament was very important in terms of qualification for the Tokyo Olympics”.

Don with Coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork at the Samoa Pacific Games.

The pursuit of excellence takes time and committment and there seems to be no rest for Samoa’s weightlifting coach as he prepares the nation’s team for the Tokyo Olympics.

“We arrive back home today and depart again on Wednesday night for the Vogue Qualifiers,” says Tuaopepe.

“We now have Don and Nevo qualified, and Iuniarra and Sanele both leading their qualification points spots”.

Iuniarra Sipaia receiving her Gold Medal at the Australia International Open.

Iuniarra Sipaia fought a tough battle for the women’s 87+kg Gold medal. The 26-year old lifted her personal best to set a new Oceania Clean and Jerk record.

Sanele Mao took the Gold Medal in the Mens 109kg division on the last day of the Australian International Open in Canberra.

Sanalele Mao Gold Medallist for Mens 109kg division

Lauititi Lui also won Gold medal in the Men’s 109+kg division to secure Samoa’s 100% perfection record of 5 gold medals from all 5 team members.

Tuaopepe thanked the tapuaiga of Samoa with special acknowledgement for the Samoa Water Authority for their continued support for Samoa’s weightlifters.

“Faafetai Samoa mo le tapuaiga. This performance is also specially dedicated to our Naming Sponsors who have stood strongly behind the Samoa Weightlifting Team over the past 12 months”.

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Sina Retzlaff