#PhotoOfTheDay from the Samoa Weightlifting Federation.
Samoa’s Weightlifting Team are Qualified, Set and Loaded for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.
Follow their preparations and awesome videos of the team achieving personal best times as they continue to train at their quality assured International Standards High Performance Centre at Tuanaimato.
Who are they?
Commonwealth Gold medalist for the 90+ division, Feagaiga Stowers only 21 years old will be looking to better her 2018 performance where she won gold with total of 253 (113, 140, 140).
Gold Coast Commonwealth Games silver medalist for the 86kg division, Don Opeloge, has qualified for the 96kg division. In 2019 at just 20 years old, Don Opeloge wrote himself into the history books as the first ever medal winner for Samoa at an International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championship with a gold medal. Don Opeloge set an Oceania Senior Record in the Men’s 96 kilogram division with a Snatch of 176 kilograms in May last year.
The famous weightlifting family continues to produce elite athletes with Jack Opeloge also qualifying for the 109kg division. There are seven Opeloge’s on the IWF results database and the two young men under the guidance of Coach Tuaopepe continue the legacy of weightlifting icons Ele, Mary and Niusila Opeloge.
Veteran Vaipava Nevo Ioane, who won a silver medal for Samoa in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games has qualified for the 67kg division. In 2019, Ioane won the 67kg division gold at the 2019 Pacific Games. Vaipava Nevo Ioane is a five-time Oceania Championship gold medalist, and three-time Commonwealth Championship gold medalist. The 33 year old veteran has been representing Samoa since his 2010 silver medal win at the Oceania Championships when he was just 22 years old.
John Tafi has qualified for the 73kg division. The 19 year old set a new world record for the Oceania region in the Junior and Seniors’ Men’s 73-kilogram division in May last year.
Pacific Games medalist Petelo Lautusi is the sixth team member, having qualified for the 109+ division.
Crowned 2021 Oceania regional champions for both men’s and women’s divisions, Samoa’s record-breaking weightlifters hope to be able to travel to the UK in four months time for the Commonwealth Games. After four years of Olympic preparation, Covid-19 restrictions led to the heartbreaking withdrawal of three Olympic qualified weightlifters from the Tokyo Olympics. Vaipava Nevo Ioane – 67kg Men, Don Opeloge – 96kg Men and Iuniarra Sipaia – 87+kg Women could not travel and missed out on the Olympic dream.
Let’s pray Samoa’s Weightlifting Team will be set to travel to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games.