THE Ministry of Youth and Sports yesterday forked out $12,000 to set in motion the construction of a new High Performance Weightlifting Centre in Levuka.
The centre will cost around $50,000 with additional money to come from Olympic Solidarity funding.
Weightlifting Fiji president Sharlene Nand added that weightlifting equipment would be given by the International Weightlifting Federation, through Oceania Weightlifting Federation and its secretary general, Paul Coffa.
Baba villagers, from Levuka, will provide labour for the construction.
At the signing of the agreement for the ministry's funding, Minister for Youth and Sports Viliame Naupoto said they wanted to help turn Weightlifting Fiji's dream of an Olympic medal into reality.
He said "dedication, sacrifice and hard work" of an athlete would be of no use "without good facilities".
Naupoto said they were keen to help a minor sport and had high hopes of a medal success at the 2016 Olympics.
"We will continue to chip in (with funding) every now and then, as and when we can," he promised Weightlifting Fiji.
Nand said since 1996 they had seen six lifters rise to compete at the Olympics and four of them were from Levuka.
"So it is logical to have a High Performance Weightlifting Center in Levuka," Nand said, pointing out the interest in the sport for those in the old capital.
The new HPC will have eight training platforms and eight competition ones giving more lifters chances to train at one time.
Nand said 40 lifters were in training at the old gym in Levuka.
The ministry had also contributed ($2800) towards that set-up.