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Vaivai Wins Silver

Weightlifter grabs first Asian Games medal, breaks records Team Fiji weightlifter Apolonia Vaivai won a silver medal in the women’s 69kg Group A competition at the Asian Indoor and Martial
24 Sep 2017 11:00
Vaivai Wins Silver
Team Fiji weightlifter Apolonia Vaivai (middle row, second from right), with members of Team Fiji in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on September 23, 2017. Photo: FASANOC

Weightlifter grabs first Asian Games medal, breaks records

Team Fiji weightlifter Apolonia Vaivai won a silver medal in the women’s 69kg Group A competition at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on Friday night.

She broke two senior Oceania records in the snatch.

Vaivai did a snatch of 102kg in her second attempt and went on to lift 105kg in her third attempt to beat a 17-year record of 100kg set by Michelle Kettner of Australia in March 2000.

In the clean and jerk, Vaivai lifted 116kg to give her a total of 221kg which not only won her a silver medal but Fiji’s first medal in the Asian Games.

The 26-year-old number one ranked in the Commonwealth was excited and happy about her achievement said this is only a stepping stone for her to do better come the Pacific Mini Games and Commonwealth Games.

“I feel so good right now, I never imagined that I would be here competing in the Asian Games because lifters who come here are tough and put up a really good challenge,” she said.

“But I managed to get a medal and I feel excited and happy to not only break two records but win Fiji’s first medal at the Asian Indoor Games.

“This achievement has definitely given me more confidence to keep working hard to become the best I can be. When I got up on that stage to do my snatch, I knew in my head that this is something I wanted and I wanted my name down on the board and I did it.

“I know I can do more than what I am doing now and setting this record has given me that motivation to continue to work hard.”

With the amount of pressure on her to do well, Vaivai says, the one thing that kept her going was God and the support from those around her.

“God has been the number one motivation in my life and is the one thing that has kept me going all this while.

“The amount of support I have been getting from my coach, Chris Yee and his family and the weightlifting family is something that amazes me.

“Everyone has been behind me and that is what drives me to keep doing my best. Coming here was no walk in the park, this is a huge event and I know coming here I wanted to get nothing less than a medal.”

Coach Joe Vueti said he was proud of Vaivai’s achievements.

He said with weightlifting being a very technical sport, no matter how much training or competitions Vaivai has been through, everything comes down to that one moment when she steps up on that podium.

“As a coach, I am happy, for her to win a silver medal and to win it at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games is something huge. There was obviously some technical mistakes in the clean and jerk but then again that is the way the game is.

“We missed two crucial lifts in the clean and jerk and that is what cost us the gold but we are still proud of her,” he added.

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