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No rest for Samoa's conquering weightlifters

The S.W.A. Samoa Weightlifting Team are back in training at their S.A.S.N.O.C. Gym, having returned triumphant from the Arafura Games held in Darwin last week.

Don Opeloge, Petunu Opeloge, Sanele Mao and Fegaiga Stowers picked up gold medals in their divisions, while Iuniarra Sipaia, Vaipava Nevo Ioane and Maeu Nanai Livi each won silver.

Petunu (24), who is from the village of Vaoala, said it was special to win along with his cousin Don (19).

“We’re very happy for the medals."

Petunu is the younger brother of Samoan weightlifting legends Niusila, Ele, Tovia and Mary Opeloge.

He said it's an honour to follow in their footsteps.

“They are very supportive of our weightlifting.

“When we fight to win, we fight for our family and our brothers and sisters."

Don, who is also from Vaoala, said Petunu sets a good example for him.

“Me and my cousin come to weightlifting for the future of our family, and the future of Samoa.

“I thank God for giving us this strength, this talent.

“And thank family and friends, our village and the country for supporting us."

He said he was excited to go for gold at the Pacific Games in July, especially since it will be hosted in Samoa.

Petunu is happy to have the chance to compete in front of Samoa, a country that is so proud of them.

“We’re training hard, I want to win," he said.

Both athletes said their ultimate goal is to qualify for the Olympics in 2020.

“I need to do more training, and train hard, and pray for God to give us more strength," Don said.

The Samoa Weightlifting Team will travel for Fiji for the Junior World Championships at the end of the month, their last competition before the Pacific Games.

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