By Alan Ah Mu
APIA: 05 June 2012 – A man who took up weights to recuperate from a broken neck was today awarded life membership of Oceania Weightlifting Federation (OWF).
Seiuli Paul Wallwork was bestowed the award at a OWF conference here today to elect new officials.
Seiuli won Samoa’s first Commonwealth medal in weightlifting with silver in 1974 and became an administrator.
“Weightlifting is my life,” he told the conference.
He broke his neck while a resident of New Zealand in the 1960s and turned to the sport as part of his recuperation, he said.
“It’s become a part and parcel of my family I suppose.”
Seiuli thanked wife Su’a Julia for her years of support of him and the sport.
Son Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork is president of Samoa Weightlifting Federation.
Seiuli was the first vice-president of Oceania Weightlifting Federation (OWF) when it was founded in 1980, a role he kept until he was president from 1992 to
President of International Weightlifting Federation, Dr. Tamas Ajan, was also made a life member of OWF today.
OWF general secretary Paul Coffa said the award was a token of their appreciation for Dr. Ajan’s support over the years.
“Very seldom you say no to us,” said Coffa.
“I can’t remember the last time you said no,” he said.
“I am very honoured, I am very impressed,” said Dr. Ajan of his award.
Present at the establishment of OWF in 1980, he said he didn’t expect Oceania’s to progress so fast and be so successful.
Dr. Ajan today lent support to a Junior World champs to be hosted by Oceania, in Samoa.
OWF has grown 22 affiliated members.
General secretary Coffa he visits Northern Marianas and Guam of this year to revive the sport there.
Weightlifting was once dominated by single countries in the past as when Nauru led in the 1980s, he said.
It was marked by the feats of Marcus Stephen who is now OWF president.
Then Samoa stunned the Commonwealth by a haul of three gold medals in 2010.
“I mean that was an incredible achievement,” said Coffa.
But improved facilities and better coaches has seen medal winners spread out over the region, said Coffa.
“Weightlifting has become one of the most respected sports in the region, if not the most respected.”
Coffa is confident the Pacific Islands will win 10 of the 15 medals at the next Commonwealth in Glasgow.