SPORTS | Weightlifting

Lifters Out, Head Coach Takes The Blame

Weightlifting Fiji has missed a chance of two possible gold med­als of the online Oceania Youth and Junior Championships which ended on Saturday.
24 May 2022 16:30
Lifters Out, Head Coach Takes The Blame
Weightlifter Apakuki Tabuwaiwai makes his lift in the 61 kilogramme category in Suva on May 21, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

Weightlifting Fiji has missed a chance of two possible gold med­als of the online Oceania Youth and Junior Championships which ended on Saturday.

This was after the two lifters, Apakuki Tabuwaiwai and Eroni Talemaigau, missed their online scheduled time which was moved 30 minutes earlier.

Head coach Henry Elder said he did not see the email from Oceania Weightlifting Feder­ation two days before the championship to notify them of the change of time.

Tabuwaiwai was to compete in the 61kg while Talemaigau in the 55kg category.

“There an email that was sent to us (from OWF), the email has stated that slight ad­justments and that event changed to start half an hour earlier and I did not check that,” Elder said.

“It was my responsibility and I’m disap­pointed myself and even more so, the ath­letes and the opportunity we have lost. These two athletes would have won gold; if they had competed.

“I’m gutted that we did not make those checks, I’ve never come across the changes like this at this late stage.

“They have made changes but it’s really up to us to be on top of all this things here,” he added.

Fifteen participants participated in the two-day competition which started on Sat­urday. Of the 15, nine lifters will represent Fiji to the Saipan Pacific Mini Games from June 17-25.

“I guess amid the hustle and bustle of preparation, we don’t have many people do­ing our work, we are wearing several hats at one time but then again it is still no excuse – I’m really upset,” Elder said.

“I know how hurt these athletes are that we missed out this competition.

“They usually have the snatch, following the snatch they have the cleaning jerk and if some people don’t make any of the lifts in the snatch they allow them still to compete in the cleaning jerk.

“We had requested for another chance but they declined and we respect that decision,

“I don’t want to make an argument about it but definitely I learnt a hard lesson, a tough one.

“And I know the athletes are really disap­pointed. For us it’s the Pacific Mini games next and I know these athletes will be really fired up for that.

“Lessons learnt for us that we really need to be on top of things and hopefully have some people who can assist us in the admin­istrative side of things.

“But I believe, there will be something good that will come out of this,” he added.

Meanwhile, Helen Seipua is the only lifter that has qualified for the Birmingham Com­monwealth Games so far.


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