Don Opeloge brings in Samoa’s latest gold in Vanuatu Games

06 December 2017, 12:00AM

Young weightlifter with a great future, Don Opeloge, has secured Samoa’s latest gold medal at the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu.

Opeloge competed in 85kgs division, outclassing all his opponents to join Nevo Ioane as gold medal winners for Samoa.

The following is the update from Team Samoa, provided by Nynette Sass:


A very emotional morning hearing our National Anthem at the Epauto Convention Hall for the first time at this event, yesterday morning. Vaipava Nevo Ioane, ranked #1 in the Commonwealth in the 69kg class made a clean sweep of the Snatch, Clean & Jerk Discipline and overall winner.

We were absolutely jubilant and thrilled to watch our athlete, the consummate professional in action. We have been observing him back home being put through his paces and his calm & focused demeanour is something to behold. Nevo was definitely ïn the zone”.


3 GOLDS for Samoa.
Nevo is also the Oceania and Commonwealth Champion for 2017.

Don Opeloge and Maeu Nanai Livi lifted yesterday evening in the 85kg class. Again, we witnessed some amazing lifting and “tactical psychological mind games” between the former master Coach, Paul Coffa and his protégé, Asiata Jerry Wallwork, unfolding, using the clock and the weights which kept everyone on edge.

A thrilling and electrifying performances from our athletes. Unfortunately for Maeu, he just missed out on the medals.

Don on the other hand, earned himself a silver in the Snatch with a 147kg lift and in the Clean and Jerk a Gold with a lift of 180kg. His overall lift totalled 327kgs, the highest he has lifted to date.
“If he had been successful in his last C&J lift of 190kg, he would have broken all three Commonwealth, and Oceania Junior Records,” said Tuaopepe.

Thursday 7th will be the final day for competition for Weightlifting.

Siaosi Leuo & Petunu Opeloge, will lift in the Men’s 94kg class

Lesila Fiapule, 14 years of Avele College will be lifting in the 90kg class at 1000am – lifting on just one year. She is Mary Opeloge’s sister.

Feagaiaga Stowers, 16 years of age is a power house. She has been lifting around 2 years now. She is currently the Commonwealth and Oceania, Junior Champ and record holder and favorite to win in the Vanuatu Games.

She is currently ranked number 2 in the Commonwealth Senior ranking. Ranked #1 in the World Youth in the super heavyweight division. (link to IWF Rating List Youth ). We have high hopes for Feagaiga for this outing.

Sanele Mao will be lifting in the 105kg at 4pm local time and Lauititi Lui, lifting in the 105kg class will lift at 6pm local time. Lauititi is currently the Commonwealth and Oceania Champ for 2017 and is ranked #1 in the Commonwealth. He has been lifting for around 5 years to date.
“The aim for today is to get another ten gold medals,” says Tuaopepe. “That would be a substantial contribution to Team Samoa’s participation at the Mini Games.”


Team Events is still continuing at the Korman Stadium with the Individual events starting tomorrow.
The day started off with Leon Soonalole and Kristen Pavitt in their Men’s singles and doubles against New Caledonia .

Both were unsuccessful
Kristen lost 6-0 6-4 and Leon lost 6-4 6-1
Doubles lost 6-0 6-2
Lyla Tapusoa lost her single 6-3 6-2 and Steffi Carruthers won her singles 6-0 6-0 followed by winning their doubles 6-3 6-2 against Tonga
It has been long days at the tennis due to rain disruptions. Play for the doubles only resumed at 5 pm.
Today, our ladies will be playing against New Caledonia in the semi final match. We wish Steffi and Lyla a winning streak
Our men’s team will be playing against Tonga

Table Tennis & Para:
This competition kicked off on Monday before the opening ceremony, starting with the Team events. Samoa is represented by Ata Faasavalu Vea (M) and Paneta Fereti(F). The singles competitions will start on Thursday. Ve’a and Fereti will play singles and a mixed double and managed by Fusipala Coffin, who is also the current President of Table


Our lone Para-athlete Milo Toleafoa will start on Thursday as well. Milo is accompanied by his coach/manager Maylani Ah Hoy.
Milo Toleafoa, our para athlete will start his competition at 1300hrs today in Table Tennis. There are four athletes in the competition so chances of medalling are high. “I am confident and looking forward to the competition”, enthuses Milo.

Paselio Mataeliga is Samoa’s only Judo athlete at the Vanuatu Games. He is an employee of Betham Brothers, Apia. He has attended his Technical meetings and is preparing with the Fijian and Solomon teams. He competes today, Thurs. The competition starts at 1000hrs with no scheduled match times.
We wish Paselio much success today.

Our Rugby 7s and their physio have arrived and they had a practice run yesterday afternoon. Today will be the captains run at 1200hrs after the 1000hrs Technical Meeting
Samoa’s first match tomorrow will be against Wallis & Futuna at 1505hrs, followed by Tuvalu at 1730 and finally Solomons at 2000hrs.

All is going well with the exception of our Physio who is a bit under the weather.
Today is another hectic day with all our Sports teams in competition. Table Tennis singles/mixed and para will be competing on this final day of TT.
Our Ladies Tennis team competing in the Semi finals
Weightlifting last lot of lifters
Judo first and final comp today
The food, transportation, venues and overall running of the games can’t be faulted. The organisers, volunteers and everyone involved are friendly, so accommodating and


Would love to hear from the Media Family what would be a good time to send through updates so as to meet your time frames. We will make an effort to email through a summary at the end of each day. Additionally we will make regular updates via our Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee Facebook page as well as my own page.
Faafetai tele.

06 December 2017, 12:00AM

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