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Stowers strikes gold for Samoa at Junior World Champs

Feagaiga Stowers won a gold medal and two silvers on the final day of competition at the 2019 International Weightlifting Federation Junior World Championships in Suva, Fiji on Saturday.

The 18-year-old came first in the +87 kg category snatch event with a lift of 124 kg, and came second in the clean and jerk (151 kilograms) and total (275 kilograms) competitions.

All three results set new records for Oceania weightlifters in the +87 kg Women category.

Her main competition at the event was Lee Seon Mi of Korea, who came second in the snatch but won the total and clean and jerk.

Of the pair, Stowers lifted first in the snatch and succeeded with 117 and 121 kg lifts.

Meanwhile Lee struggled early, missing her two opening lifts of 120 and 123 kg.

The Korean was not at her best; she is currently ranked second in the world for juniors in the category (ahead of Stowers in third), and lifted 127 kg at the Asian Championships earlier this year.

She made 123 kg on her final attempt, leaving the door open for Stowers to take gold.

The Samoan did just that with a lift of 124, picking up the S.W.A. Samoa Weightlifting Team's third gold medal of the Championships.

Stowers opened the clean and jerk event with a successful attempt at 146 kg, but Lee responded by lifting 150 kg herself.

Stowers now had to clear 151 kg, and she could only do so on her second attempt at that weight, and final attempt of the competition.

Lee succeeded with a lift of 153 kg, enough to take out gold in both the clean and jerk and total events, with one attempt remaining.

Stowers' 275 kg total is a 15 kg improvement on her score at the Arafura Games in Darwin earlier this year, and she looks to be on the up ahead of the Pacific Games/Oceania Championships/Commonwealth Championships/Olympic qualifying event in Samoa in July.

Samoa Weightlifting Team Coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork said he is very proud.

"This is the best reward for the many years of training and sacrifices."

Lesila Fiapule was also competing in the +87 kg Women category, and she finished fifth in the snatch (100 kg), ninth in the clean and jerk (123 kg) and eighth overall (223 kg).

At just 17 years old, Fiapule was the second youngest lifter of the 14 women in the competition.

Samoa's final medal tally from the Junior World Championships is three golds and three silvers, won by Stowers and Don Opeloge, who triumphed in the 89 kg Men category on Tuesday.

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