Weightlifter ready for international tournaments

A Samoan weightlifter who won a gold medal at the recent Australian Open needs to win two more international competitions before he can head to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Nevo Ioane, who hails from the village of Tulaele but is now a resident of Leulumoega where his wife is from, has set his eyes on the two tournaments in South America and Australia. 

"I was supposed to leave on Wednesday, unfortunately the flight from Auckland to Chicago got cancelled and that's why I'm still here. The two competitions will be held at Columbia and the other one in Australia," he said.

Starting in the sport at a very young age, Ioane said he was inspired by his father who was also a weightlifter in American Samoa and played a big role in mentoring him. 

"My dad is 75 years old and he is the main reason why I chose weightlifting as a career, I will honor him through weightlifting," he added.

Looking ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he said he is ready to represent Samoa and hopefully get gold for Samoa. 

"This is going to be the second Olympics if God willing, because I need to win the two competitions before I head out to the Olympics, my preparations are all good and I am ready for the last two competitions," he said smiling.

His weightlifting career started in 2012 and he's still representing Samoa after first training with his father when he was 12-years-old. 

"I have been doing weightlifting ever since I was a kid in American Samoa, but my professional career started in 2012 in Samoa, there is another person that really drives me to do well in weightlifting and that's Ele Opeloge," he said.

The 31-year-old is now starting his full training in preparation for the two competitions ahead and will head to Columbia on March 15 or 16. 

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