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Opeloge qualifies for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Don Opeloge has officially qualified to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

He has broken the Commonwealth and Oceania Records for the Clean and Jerk 200kg 

According to head coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork, this is his personal best performance.

"Yes, Don has accumulated all the points to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020," Tuaopepe told Samoa Observer.

"He lifted a personal best and in doing so, [Opeloge] broke all Commonwealth and Oceania Records in the [200kg] Clean and Jerk."

Tuaopepe told this newspaper that he is proud of the young athlete, saying the secured spot in the 2020 Olympics is well deserved.

"Don lifted well under pressure," he said.

"I still believe he had a lot of work to do. And I'm still confident he can reach much higher levels if he continues on this path. 

"[I am] very proud of all the work he has put in, and well deserved by this young man."

Opeloge normally competes in the 89 kg category but will be competing in the 96kg category in the 2020 Olympics, said Tuaopepe, "For the Tokyo Olympics 2020, they will have the 96 kg but not the 89 kg men."

The 20-year-old from Vaoala and Samalaga, won Samoa’s first Gold medal at the Junior World Weightlifting Championships in Suva, Fiji in June.

He is the World Champion in the 89 kg men’s division.

Earlier this year in July, World Champion weightlifter, Opeloge, secured three Pacific Games gold medals in the men's 89 kg category.

He also won the Commonwealth Senior and Junior titles, and the Oceania Senior and Junior titles.

In July last year, 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.

Don has been lifting since 2015 and hails from the Opeloge clan who are synonymous with weightlifting success in Samoa.

The 2019 IWF World Championships opened in Pattaya on September 18, with an opening ceremony showcasing the best of Thailand’s rich culture. The competition will end on September 27. 

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