6 April, 2018, 12:00 am
FIJIAN weight-lifter Manueli Tulo could not fulfil his father’s dream of winning a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games after he bombed out of medal contention in the 56 kilograms weight category.
Tulo finished his competition in fourth place with a total lift of 239kg, but he said he could have done better if he had not been given a “no lift” by the jury.
Tulo, in his second attempt lifted 108kg and he brought the bar down once the green light went on and was given a good lift, but later the jury turned the decision, giving him a ‘no lift’.
“I have been preparing for years for this competition, but today (yesterday) I was robbed of my medal. I believe I was strong in the competition,” he said.
“The last say was with the jury and they turned everything wrong. I cannot say anything, but I have to move on from here.
“We were planning to go more than 110kg, but when they reversed the decision, we had to change the weights which disturbed our approach and the way we wanted to run our plan.”
Tulo’s father, Sunia Uataletale, also watched his son compete sitting near the stage.
“The officials, after the competition came to me and said it was touch and go, and if it is so then they should have given me the good lift,” Tulo claimed.
“I had never lifted it like this first. My children did not go to school just to watch me on television lifting.
“The lifters are happy and they said I did what was required. But my dream does not end here as I am aiming for the Olympic Games.”
Weightlifting Fiji president Atma Maharaj said it was a sad day for his athlete.
“I am very proud of Tulo’s performance in terms of his guts on the platform and his commitment to win a medal for Fiji,” Maharaj said.
“The situation which happened was outside of our control and the rules of the sport are such that the jury makes the final decision. Those decisions cannot be challenged or reviewed and there is no mechanism of appeal.
“I spoke to the technical delegate and a similar thing happened to the Iranian in the 2016 Olympic Games. They said that they are looking at changing the rules in the future that they will have video replay ability.”
Meanwhile, Muhammad Azroy Hazalwa of Malaysia won the gold medal with a total lift of 261kg.