Don Opeloge new junior World Champion
Young Samoan, Don Opeloge, has won Samoa’s first Gold medal at the Junior World Weightlifting Championships in Suva, Fiji.
At just 20 years old and weighing 88.2kgs, he is the new World Champion in the 89kg men’s division.
Opeloge won Gold in the Clean and Jerk competition with 198kg.
Combined with his snatch score, he finished with 349kg to his name, just shy of second place winner Mohammad Hosseini from Iran with 348kgs, who won the Snatch competition, beating Opeloge’s score by 6kgs.
There were 15 other men in his division, with just two others from the Pacific: Timothy Vakuruivalu from Fiji and Marcincy Cook from Nauru who came 13th and 14th.
Just last July, Opeloge set a new record for snatch, lifting 145kg at the Oceania Championship in New Caledonia. He also won gold at the Vanuatu Pacific Mini Games in 2017, with a clean and jerk lift of 180kgs.
Six weightlifters from Samoa are in Fiji for the World Championships: Lesila Fiapule, Kika Petelo, Feagaiga Stowers, Maeu Nanai Livi, Jack Opeloge and Don Opeloge.
It is the most Samoa has ever sent, according to Weightlifting Team Coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork.
Tuaopepe said the World Championships is a competition at a much higher level than Samoa will see in the Pacific Games, which signals a strong chance for more medals come July.
The Junior Worlds is also an Olympic qualifying event. It is streaming live at the IWF website until the 8th of June: https://www.iwf.net/fiji_live/
Wednesday sees the women’s 71kg A and B divisions, and 76kg A division competing, as well as the men’s 96kg A and B divisions, featuring Samoa’s Maeu Nanai Livi
Thursday is dedicated to just the women’s 81kgs and men’s 102kgs divisions where Leotina Kolotita Petelo will compete.
Finally Lesila Fiapule and and Feagaiga Stowers will compete on Friday in the women’s 87kg. Friday’s competitions also include the women’s over 87kg competitors, as well as the men’s 109 and over 109kgs competitors.