Samoan weightlifter Ele Opeloge set to be awarded Samoa’s first Olympic medal
BY STAFF REPORTERS
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 26 OCTOBER 2016: Samoa is set to win its first Olympic medal, eight years after the 2008 Beijing Olympics where weightlifter Ele Opeloge finished a close fourth in the 75kg division.
Ele Opeloge is now assured of winning an Olympic medal after one of her competitors failed doping test was confirmed by the International Olympic Committee.
But in August, a re-analysis of samples from eight years ago found the silver medalist, Olha Korobka from Ukraine, and bronze medalist, Mariya Grabovetskaya from Kazakhstan, tested positive for banned substances.
Korobka’s provisional suspension has now been confirmed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), ensuring Ele Opeloge a podium finish.
The IOC announced the decisions in the latest sanctions imposed on athletes whose stored samples came back positive after being retested with improved methods.
Ele Opeloge’s coach in Beijing, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork, said the prolonged wait has been frustrating for all involved.
“It is very disappointing that after a few years we still may wait again another couple more months or a couple more weeks,” he said from Penang, where the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships are being held this weekend.
“I’m just really hoping that it will come out anytime soon. Samoa is very anxious and Ele is very anxious. It’s history for us – to win a silver medal at the Olympic Games is something great and I just hope that they confirm it too.”
Nine athletes in all were disqualified from the 2008 Games, including six medalists.