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Count Me Out: Vueti

Count Me Out: Vueti
Young weighlifters during the trial in Baba, Levuka on May 26, 2018. Photo: Manhar Vithal
May 27
15:07 2018

Former Weightlifting Fiji’s develop­ment officer Joe Vueti is not going to attend today’s emergency meeting in Suva.

Speaking from Levuka yesterday, Vueti said this is due to family commitments.

“My wife is away in Melbourne and I have to look after my three children,” he told SUNsports while conducting their trials.

“Also, I’m really disappointed with the statement made to the media by Weightlift­ing Fiji president Atma Maharaja, where he claimed that I was influencing weight­lifters in Levuka to sign the petition letter. That is incorrect as the lifters and their parents agreed to boycott themselves.”

Vueti also clarified that his job as the Oceania development officer was only on part-time basis since the Oceania Weight­lifting Federation cannot afford to pay him to work full-time.

“Weightlifting Fiji and Maharaj have been saying publicly that it is a full-time job when it’s not. I hope this misunder­standing is made clear to the public and now I am fully committed to the develop­ment of the young weightlifters in Levu­ka,”

Vueti said the trials went well where the youngest participant was a five-year-old.

“The atmosphere was very exciting and also competitive despite not having a fully equipped gym. The turnout for the trials was impressive as around 30 youngsters gave their best performance.”

Vueti said he was encouraged with the support shown by parents and guardians of the young weightlifters.


The reconstruction works on the gym facilities in Baba, Levuka, has already be­gun, in 2017, stated Weightlifting Fiji.

WF general secretary Ritesh Ratiram said they have paid for the concrete fill­ing of the gym floor and allowed time for curing whilst they await finalisation of the funding from international donors to rebuild the complete gym and camp facili­ties.

“It should be noted that there was a total of nine international competitions that Weightlifting Fiji participated in since February 2017 and our focus was with the elite athletes and their preparation and performances at these competitions,” he said.

As a result, Ratiram says, the develop­ment works of the national development officer in Levuka was very limited and therefore the urgency of rebuilding the gym was not paramount at that time.

“Despite that, we started with the works, as we do know that it takes a lot of time and effort to take all the sand, gravel, ce­ment and other materials up the steps to Baba.”

He indicated the need to prepare a proper design with an architect and once this is in place, the redevelopment will begin.

“During the annual general meeting on April 29, Maharaj confirmed that the IOC’s (International Olympic Committee) presi­dential grant will be funding the rebuild­ing of the old gym and they are currently awaiting the finalisation of the funding approval.

“The president (Maharaj) also advised that we will need to prepare a proper de­sign with an architect and once this is in place, the redevelopment will begin,” he added.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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