‘Sorry, I was Misled’: Vaivai

The Taveuni native has been the highest profile of the boycotting athletes to relinquish ties with the Levuka Weightlifting and returning to WF.
22 Jan 2021 11:38
‘Sorry, I was Misled’: Vaivai
Apolonia Vaivai.

Apolonia Vaivai will rejoin Weightlifting Fiji (WF) competitions this month after three years

This was after she apologized for boycotting Weightlifting Fiji in 2018 with the Levuka Weightlifting club in protest over the appointment of Iranian Hossein Tavakoli as national coach.

The Taveuni native has been the highest profile of the boycotting athletes to relinquish ties with the Levuka Weightlifting and returning to WF.

Fiji’s number one weightlifter for over five years and ranked in the top 5 lifters in the world in the 69Kg category apologized in writing to Weightlifting Fiji.

Vaivai said: “For the past 3 years, I have been misled by my coach(es) and some officials about the issues between Weightlifting Fiji and the Levuka group.

“I boycotted Weightlifting Fiji thinking I was doing the right thing but I now realise I was misled and I regret my decision to leave my career behind.

“I made a mistake in giving up my International Olympic Committee scholarship and removing myself from the sport that has given me so much. I now know that there was no truth in what was told to me about Weightlifting Fiji. I carry a lot of regret and I take full responsibility for my actions.

“I fully regret being part of the actions that derailed this and I am very sorry. I also thank the executives for allowing me to come back to WF.

“I promise to give my utmost best to bring honour back to Fiji, Weightlifting Fiji and my family.”

  • She won 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Commonwealth Championships from 2016-2018, the only Fiji athlete to ever do so.
  • She won bronze medals at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games. She qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on merit.
  • She represented Fiji at the 2017 World Championships and has several Pacific Games and Oceania Championships gold medals to her name.
  • She won the Fiji’s Sportswoman of the Year in 2016. In 2017, she broke the 17-year old Oceania record for the snatch in the 69Kg.

WF president, Della Shaw-Elder said: “Apolonia was one of the faces of the Levuka boycott group and her desire to come back to WF on her own accord speaks volumes of what had really happened. Apolonia’s willingness to tell all should highlight WF’s stance of only wanting the best for its athletes and how it was taken out of context by a few.”

Vaivai will rejoin WF under Suva Weightlifting Club and train under Della Shaw-Elder and Henry Elder.

She has been now reactivated in the global World Anti-Doping database and is expected to be part of the Fiji team for the current Oceania on-line League competition.


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