by Alan Ah Mu
APIA: 29 May 2012: Over 300 weightlifters are on their way. They represent 31 countries.
Along with the lifters will come up to 80 officials for the combined Commonwealth and Oceania champs, with the competition itself to start on June 5.
“It’s the biggest Oceania champs ever,” said Samoa Weightlifting Federation president, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork.
“It’s the biggest Commonwealth champs ever too,” Tuaopepe said.
As an indication of the quality of lifters on the way, more than 10 of them are Commonwealth gold medalists.
In terms of numbers many more lifters will compete here in June than in Delhi at the Commonwealth in 2010.
“Almost double,” said Tuaopepe.
India’s lifters alone number 65 in all, and together with their officials, can fill up a hotel.
In fact they’ve booked out Mona Lisa Hotel for their stay.
What they want is accommodation where it is possible to install their own cooks to prepare meals to their own liking.
Such is the seriousness with which the champs are regarded.
They are after all, the qualifiers for the London Olympics in July.
Six visitor accommodations have been booked out for the week of the champs in all, including half of a seventh, Tanoa Tusitala Hotel.
In terms of officials in world weightlifting who will attend the champs, there can’t be any who are higher.
President of International Weightlifting Federation, Tamas Ajan, will attend.
So will president of Oceania Weightlifting Federation, Paul Coffa.
Samoa has managed to attract such a high level of international competition and personnel because our reputation as a host is good.
“We’ve done a good job in the past,” said Tuaopepe.
Firm support of Government has underpinned all successful efforts to attract sporting competitions to Samoa.
Possession of beautiful sports facilities is a plus.
“And the country is nice,” said Tuaopepe.