Lifters on track for Commonwealth champs
By Alan Ah Mu
APIA: Monday 14 May 2012: Overall our lifters are on track in their preparations for the Commonwealth and Oceania champs on June 5. That is the assessment after the pre-champs “test” held on Friday – called the President’s Cup.
“Overall the performances were outstanding,” said coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork.
“For me three and a half weeks before the (Commonwealth and Oceania) championships, we’re on track,” Tuaopepe said.
“If you follow the results this year you will notice the improvement in the performances,” he said.
No more spectacularly than in the women’s where Mary Opeloge and Iuni Simanu set new marks on Friday. Mary pushed the Oceania senior and junior record for the 75kg division in the snatch with a 105kg lift – and in the clean and jerk where she set a the new record of 132kg.
Iuni set a new South Pacific record in the juniors with a 100kg snatch. Manu Ah Kuoi and Melanie Nauer showed steady progress. Ele Opeloge battles on in her comeback from illness and managed 112kg in the snatch and 140kg in the clean and jerk. Her lifts set in the New Delhi Commonwealth were 125kg in the snatch and 160kg in the clean and jerk.
“So she’s still got a bit of work to do,” said Tuaopepe, to regain top form.
“She can do it but she’s got to work hard,” he said.
Of concern is an elbow injury suffered by medal prospect in the 69kg, Vanessa Lui.
An unhappy Tuaopepe will know next week how serious the injury is to the Pacific Games silver medalist. An injury to her hand at training forced Ivoga Brown out of the President’s Cup on Friday.
In the men’s Commonwealth gold medalist Niu Sila Opeloge advanced further the South Pacific seniors record, which he held, to 153kg in the snatch. A lower-back injury, now cured, and a sore thigh which persists, has interfered with training. But the veteran signaled on Friday a determination to maintain his dominance of the 105kg division in the Commonwealth with his impressive snatch. He does not want to be beaten in front of his home crowd in June, Niu Sila said. He recovered from a loss of focus in the clean and jerk to nail 200kg in the clean and jerk. It was a lift that won him the most outstanding performance award in the men’s on Friday.
Fellow Commonwealth gold medalist Fa’avae Fa’auliuli stumbled in the clean and jerk and could not improve on his lifts so far this year. But his battle for top form after a lay off at the start of the year has gained forward momentum which can be maintained and improved in the three weeks of training left before the big event on June 5. While the known lifters attract close attention as to their fortunes the circle of emerging youngsters bumble with excitement.
Amongst the youngsters burns a passion to do well. It is evident in the dedication to training and the results so far. Nearly all have improved over the three preparatory competitions or tests held so far – from the Apia Cup, Selection Trials to the President’s Cup on Friday.