Weightlifting team scoops three more gold

By Talaia Mika 25 November 2023, 5:00PM

Samoa's weightlifting team are the latest athletes to push the country's gold medal tally to 21 at the 2023 XVII Pacific Games currently underway in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Lesila Fiapule took one gold in the snatch of the women's 87+kg division while Iuniarra Sipaia won two golds in the 87+kg division. Their gold medal victories increased Samoa's gold medals tally to 21 from 18 together with six silver and two more bronze for a total haul of 37 medals. This has ensured Samoa has locked in third placing overall in the medal tally on the sixth day of competition. 

The other silver medals came from Sanele Mao, who was in a tight battle in the men's 109+kg division while Sipaia got the other silver. Fiapule won two other silver medals.

This was the last performance of Samoa's weightlifting team before they returned home after putting on yet another outstanding overall performance. 

"And that wraps up Samoa weightlifting team's performance at the Pacific Games 2023 Solomon Islands," read the Samoa weightlifting team's official Facebook page. "Praise and glory go back to the heavenly father that we have achieved our goals and made it. 

"We thank your support Samoa. That is our weightlifting team's performance in Samoa for the Pacific Games 2023 in the Solomon Islands, the team returns to Samoa tomorrow night. A special thank you to everyone who has supported our journey."

The weightlifting team's overall medal haul includes 15 gold, 8 silver, 4 new Pacific Games records, and 3 new Oceania records achieved at this year's two-week regional event.

Meanwhile, the latest Pacific Games medal tally updated on Saturday 25 November 2023 showed New Caledonia returning to the top and dominating the games with 46 gold, 32 silver, and 29 bronze for a total of 107 medals.

Australia is running second on the table with a medal count of 24 gold, 16 silver, and 7 bronze medals for a total of 47. Tahiti is running fourth despite increasing their medal tally with 13 gold, 21 silver and 29 bronze for a total haul of 63 medals. 

During the weightlifting competition last Friday, Samoa's golden boy and champion lifter, Don Opeloge got three gold medals in weightlifting and acknowledged all who contributed to his success.

"Firstly, all praise to the Heavenly Father for the strength he continues to provide us with, I feel proud and excited for the results of today," he said.

Meanwhile, Leiataualesa and the CEO of the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympics Committee (SASNOC) Tuala Mathew Vaea said in an update that over 100 athletes arrived in the Solomon Islands on Saturday for the remaining sports. Those who've wrapped up their individual competitions will fly home on Sunday. Another group is expected to arrive on 4 December 2023.

Athletes representing 24 teams from the south and west Pacific region are competing in the 2023 Pacific Games from 19 November to 2 December.

Some 346 medal events are being held across 27 sports disciplines, with competitions in archery and boxing serving as Olympic qualifiers, with Paris 2024 quotas on the line.

By Talaia Mika 25 November 2023, 5:00PM
Samoa Observer

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