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Samoa overcomes Kiribati, continues to lead Oceania champs

The Samoa Weightlifting team continues to dominate the Oceania Weightlifting Federation virtual championship, overcoming Kiribati in the latest round.

The tournament, which began in July this year, is a round-robin competition involving all countries in the Oceania region.

According to results posted by the Oceania Weightlifting Federation (O.W.F.) on Tuesday, Team Samoa amassed an aggregate total of 2,686.84 kgs in round 5. Kiribati only managed 1,336.50 kgs.

On the tournament ladder, Samoa leads with 15 points and an aggregate score of 4,580 followed by Australia in second with 13 points [aggregate score 2,629.43], followed by New Zealand 13 points [aggregate score 1,416.09] and Nauru 11 points [aggregate score 1,199.80] to round off the top four.

Two Samoan weightlifters, Jack Opeloge and Peter Fatialofa, told the Samoa Observer in an interview that their training regime is tough and they want to reach higher goals in their weightlifting careers.

Opeloge said it hasn’t been easy since the online competition kicked off in July this year.  

"Our preparations and training right now are tough, especially at the stage we are at,” he said.

“The online challenge is not easy, we train every day, in the morning and in the evenings.”

Taking on Kiribati early in the week in round 5 also hasn’t been easy, according to his team-mate Fatialofa.

"First and foremost I give thanks to the Lord for giving us the strength which helped us defeat Kiribati,” he added.

“The Kiribati team is also tough and a very competitive opponent but we manage to win against them.

"The training is hard at the moment, last week was not that tough but this week it's very tough.

“As you know the position we are at right now we need to up our game to maintain our spot in the online challenge.”

And for someone who comes from a family of legend in the weightlifting sport, Opeloge feels that he needs to do more work to get to the same level of success his siblings reached.

"I have a long way to go in order to be just like my siblings. My dreams and hope are to make sure that my talent reaches a high level, and I thank our coaches for always making time to come and train us despite his busy schedule," he said.

"I look up to those who have been doing weightlifting for long and have put their name up there. I want to reach that level and that is why I challenge myself to train hard and stay focused.”

Opeloge recorded 151 for the snatch and 186 for the clean and jerk for a total of 337 while Fatialofa – who is competing under the name Petelo Lautusi – recorded 152 for snatch and 192 for clean and jerk. 

There are four rounds remaining in the 2020–2021 OWF International League Email Tournament with round 6 scheduled for November 27-28 with Samoa to take on Pacific Team 1. 

Pacific Team 1 comprises Niue, Cook Islands, Tonga, American Samoa, Tahiti and Wallis and Futuna.

Under the rules of the tournament, there are eight teams consisting of 14 lifters for each team – 7 men and 7 women. These eight teams are Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Nauru, Kiribati, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea. Two teams – Pacific 1 and Pacific 2 – will be combined teams of those countries who cannot field full teams. They can only have two lifters per country competing.

Pacific 1 Team consists of Niue, Cook Islands, Tonga, American Samoa, Tahiti, Wallis & Futuna.  Pacific 2 Team consists of Vanuatu, Palau, Micronesia FSM, Guam, Northern Marianas and New Caledonia. 

Each team will have a co-ordinator from their own country, who will be responsible to send the results to the OWF at the end of each match. Due to the Coronavirus the results of the lifters can be done in gymnasiums or wherever that lifter trains. 

There will be AUD$43,000 prize money at the end of the tournament. 

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