30 Lifters, New Gym In Levuka

The club was suspended by Weightlifting Fiji following a disagreement with the appointment of Iranian national, Hossein Tavakoli, as the national coach.
21 Jan 2020 13:40
30 Lifters, New Gym In Levuka
Apolonia Vaivai during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games on April 8, 2018.

Known for producing world-class weightlifters over the years, Levuka looks set to return bigger, better and stronger this year.

The likes of Eileen Cikamatana, Joe Vueti, and Apolonia Vaivai were household names that were the product of the Levuka Weightlifting Club.

But the club was suspended by Weightlifting Fiji following a disagreement with the appointment of Iranian national, Hossein Tavakoli,  as the national coach.

Now the onus is on former Pacific Games bronze medalist and coach Sade Vira who is trying to revamp the sport with 30 new lifters under his charge and a new gym.

“We have 30 new lifters emerging and eager to excel in the sport from the old capital,” he said.

“ The new gym will really help the sport here in Levuka. We were up there once and the plan now is to get back where we were.”

“This gym will help us groom more good weightlifters from the old capital.”

“I’ve been in this sport for over 30 years and seen the highs and lows of the sport and I think it is high time, we all reset and look forward to what good things will come from this new gym, new lifters and pure passion for a sport we all love.

“In a short period, we saw 4 newcomers join, which soon grew into 30 new lifters and this is an indication that our young players just want to participate and compete where possible.”

The Levuka Satellite Training Centre (LSTC), work began in 2019 under the close supervision of  Vira.

Vira represented Fiji in the 69kg weightlifting category at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Baba villager’s last competition was at the 2003 Pacific Games, in Suva, where he won three bronze medals in the 62kg weight category.

After the 2003 Pacific Games, Sade quit competitive participation to focus on farming.

“We’ve come a long way which is why I’m willing to give back to the sport with the abundance of talent in Levuka very happy and thankful to see positive moves to help this satellite center to grow above and beyond and set a new benchmark.”

The 44-year old was approached by parents last year to help out lifters in Levuka.

“As the first-ever lifter from Baba to represent Fiji at the Commonwealth Games, I was heartfelt about the interest from the island and so I wanted to get this off the ground again.”

The gym is fully funded by Weightlifting Fiji.

Edited by Osea Bola

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