Don Opeloge stays focused despite uncertainty
Rain or shine, Don Opeloge, picks up the weights and he trains.
The newest star from the Opeloge family of weightlifters says his goal is to make his family proud and take Samoa to the top of the world. His ultimate dream is to win a medal for Samoa at the Olympics, something his older sister, Ele Opeloge, has already accomplished during the Beijing Olympics.
Don said he was drawn to the sport by his siblings who won medals for Samoa.
"I have seven siblings and they were all weightlifters," he said.
"As the young one, I want to continue on and follow their footsteps especially my sister whom I idolise - Ele Opeloge. My family and siblings are a huge part of my career as a weightlifter."
Don latest achievement is qualifying for the 2021 Oceania Championship. With the Covid19, he had to submit scores via an online competition.
"Hard work has paid off," he said.
It was hard work indeed. Everyday, he and his weightlifting teammates will train at 5am to 6am and then from 5pm to 6pm.
Don is ranked third in the world. It's a huge achievement for the young man.
"I am very happy that I have made it up there but it only means that my work needs to be at a higher level in order to keep my place," he said.
"The competition on that level is really tough because they are the very best whom I will be competing against. But I will continue to train and to be the best that I can be to secure a medal for Samoa."
The 21-year-old says the Oceania competition is his focus, despite the uncertain nature of the Covid19.
Whatever comes, Don knows what he has to do. He said his job is to train hard and look after his body. The results, he added, will follow if he does what's needed to be done.
"I am not sure how many medals I've got from different competitions that I participate in," he said with a smile.
"All I know is there are so many medals. Every time before I leave for a competition, I always bear in mind the prayers and the strong support from families, our country and also our major sponsor, the Samoa Water Authority."
Asked if he follows a specific diet to allow him to stay in shape, he said no.
"I don't have a diet," he said.
"I eat anything everyday because we need it to be strong. But if I am preparing for a competition that's when I weigh myself. If I see that I need to lose some kilos then I must do what I need to but if not then I am good to go with any meals whether heavy or light," he laughed.
Don credits is parents, Opeloge Opeloge and Lesila Opeloge, whom he said have always pushed him and there to support him.
"My parents have walked with me throughout my journey and I owe it to them. Weightlifting is like an Opeloge family sport."
It certainly is and he is unlikely to be the last.