Pacific Games | SPORTS

Coffa: Fijians Will Face Tough Battle

Oceania Weightlifting Institute Head coach Paul Coffa anticipates a tough journey for Weightlifting Fiji in the 2015 Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea. Coffa, who used to run the institute
06 May 2015 09:13
Coffa: Fijians Will Face Tough Battle
Paul Coffa. Photo: PNG Loop

Oceania Weightlifting Institute Head coach Paul Coffa anticipates a tough journey for Weightlifting Fiji in the 2015 Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.

Coffa, who used to run the institute in Fiji, says it would be difficult for team Fiji to win gold medals because there are good lifters training at the institute who deserve to win.

The former Australia weightlifting coach said one of Fiji’s gold medal contenders Manueli Tulo will face tough challenge. The Levuka lad left the institute in 2012 after the London Olympics.

“It will be very difficult for Fiji. I think Tulo will face someone from the institute and he’s going to face trouble, but if he trains he could win two gold medals – but it will be tough,” Coffa said.

“Tulo made a mistake in 2012 after the London Olympics and he’s going to face me against him in PNG. People make mistakes in life and you have to pay the penalty for that.”

Coffa said the doors were open to Fiji to send their lifters to New Caledonia to lift their preparation level.

“If Fiji sends other lifters they are welcome to come in. In Levuka they got one or two lifters, but they can’t win in Levuka,” he said.

“At the institute the atmosphere is good. There are 25 of them and they are the best of the best.”

Apolonia Vaivai is the only female Fiji lifter training under Coffa’s guidance in New Caledonia. He expects her to do well and would win medals, but knows she will face tough competition from newcomers Australia.

“Vaivai is excellent and she is in brilliant form. She will be right up there for Rio Olympics. You have medals there, but she will be facing Australians who probably win gold,” Coffa said.

The Australian trainer praised Vaivai’s attitude and said it should be followed by young lifters in Fiji.

“Tulo was with me for six to seven years. He was a pearl. People change when they get older and you can’t stop that. The young people of Fiji can’t follow that sort of attitude,” Coffa said.

“Lifters in Fiji have to be serious like Apolonia. If they were serious they can win eight gold medals, but Fiji is not going to do it because the commitment is not there.”

Papua New Guinea is Coffa’s top bet to dominate the weightlifting stage in PNG. Samoa is his bet for second position.

“PNG lifters are really in form, there is no doubt about that, they will win lots of gold medals. They are all trying their best and Dika Toua is brilliant and I’m really surprised,” he said.

“From the institute lifters we aim for 30-35 gold medals. It goes to different countries, whether it’s Nauru, PNG or Fiji.

“PNG will dominate the game, the second position will be Samoa and Nauru will be third.”

PNG male champion Steven Kari is another lifter Coffa says will face trouble during the games.

“Kari was a brilliant kid, but too much promotion, too much fame, too much money. The money they receive is phenomenal for a young boy. so I guess that what gets into their mind,” he said.

“I’m anticipating nine gold medals for PNG womens in the first day.”

Feedback: anasilinir@fijisun.com.fj

 

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