Heart of Tulo

HE is a small man in height, but his sports achievements are way bigger than him.

Weight-lifter Manueli Tulo had been lifting Fiji’s image to greater heights with his tremendous performance over the past decade.

Tulo, originally from Baba settlement in Levuka, Ovalau has a humble beginning and it had taken him around the world — competing in the various competitions where he flew Fiji’s flag high. “I have been lifting for the past 10 years and I have enjoyed doing it for Fiji and my family. There had been some difficulties, but I managed to overcome them,” Tulo said.

“I have never been to the Commonwealth Games in my career and this is going to be the first for me and I am looking forward to the competition.

“It would be a big challenge for me. And only time will tell.”

One could feel how humble he is as he is always around to mingle and socialise at the competition venues or whenever he is approached for an interview or photo shoot.

“There are people who are very supportive and they are working behind the scenes for me to achieve this success and I would always be grateful to them,” he said.

“I appreciate my family’s contribution which includes my children and my wife.”

Tulo was in secondary school when he was first introduced to the sport of weight-lifting by the Weightlifting Fiji head coach Joe Vueti.

“We used to have a small gym in my village in Levuka and Joe Vueti’s one of the weight-lifters had made the village proud.

“I used to walk to the gym as it was a walking distance from where I’m staying and my interest in weight-lifting developed.

“Vueti trusts and has faith in me that I have what it takes to be a good weight-lifter and he helped me to find the potential.”

Tulo was always grateful to the veteran sports administrator, Weightlifting Fiji vice-president and Team Fiji general manager Christopher Yee who had helped him to become what he is today.

“His guidance always helped me to become a better person and better weight-lifter as he has been sending me around the region for the training,” the soft-spoken lad said.

“He is the main person behind my rise in the sport.”

The 28-year-old’s biggest achievement was in 2016 when he competed at top level competition in the Olympic Games.

He was one of the fortunate athletes in the world who dreamt to be at the Olympics.

“I had an injury which I got during my time at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute and sometimes I still feel it, but I keep going,” he said.

“We have to lift in order to win. Success requires sacrifice.

“I always try to stay positive in my life which drives me to achieve more with my children who motivate me to do well.”