17 September 2023 Apia Samoa. Two Samoa lifters have qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics and Samoa’s Weightlifting Head Coach is hoping for a third qualified athlete to be confirmed by the end of today.
Coach and President of Samoa Weightlifting Federation, Tuaopepe Asiata Jerry Wallwork, was responding to SGN from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where they are attending the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships.
Tuaopepe confirms Samoa’s Don Opeloge and Iuniarra Sipaia have both officially QUALIFIED for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, and Sanele Mao will lift later today (9:30pm Sunday in Samoa).
Don Opeloge set a New Commonwealth Record by lifting 12kg more than his personal best.
“Don was outstanding. He missed his last attempt on 220kg which would have given him the silver medal,” said Tuaopepe Asiata Jerry.
“He has now officially qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games next year.”
Iuniarra Sipaia finishes the IWF World Championships has also qualified for the Olympic Games despite carrying an injury into the event.
“Iuniarra fought hard yesterday and was unlucky to miss out on a bronze medal by one kilogram,” said Tuaopepe.
“Coming back from a back injury she has made Samoa proud ranking 6th in the World..”
An Officer of the Order of Merit for Samoa, Tuaopepe Asiata is hoping for a third athlete to qualify for the 2024 Olympics with Sanele Mao lifting later today.
It is the first time in history for Samoa to compete at a IWF Senior World event, says Tuaopepe and the Award Winning Coach is happy with how the three lifters are making their entry onto the world scene.
Nearly 700 athletes from around the world are competing at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city. It is the biggest ever IWF World Championships in terms of entries.
Anybody hoping to be at the Olympic Games is in Riyadh – the first of two mandatory events in qualifying for Paris 2024.
Samoa Weightlifting has come a long way over the past 20 years under the guidance and leadership of Tuaopepe who runs a highly disciplined High Performance Centre at Tuanaimato where 4am starts is the norm.
“We now have athletes all ranked in the top 8 in the world and all competing in the finals per their weight divisions at the 2023 IWF Senior World Weightlifting Chanpionships,” Tuaopepe highlights.
“I would like to acknowledge especially the Government of Samoa and SASNOC who have contributed greatly to the success of the Samoa Weightlifting Team..”
Sanele Mao cocompetes in a few hours at 11:30am in Saudi Arabia – 9:30pm in Apia.
The team will return to prepare for the Pacific Ganes in Solomon Islands in November and also host two international events at the HPU Weightlifting Centre at Tuanaimato starting next week.