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Vaivai settles for bronze

Arin Kumar
Thursday, July 31, 2014

IF she has won bronze now, she can win gold later.

That is the view of national weightlifting coach Joe Vueti after Apolonia Vaivai won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games yesterday.

The 23-year-old Levuka lass finished third behind Samoa's Mary Opeloge (silver) and Canada's Marie-Eve Beauchemin-Nadeau (gold) in the 75kg category to win Fiji's first medal at the event in Glasgow, Scotland.

In the snatch, Vaivai lifted 90kg in her first attempt, 94kg in the second attempt and 97kg in the third attempt.

In the clean and jerk, she lifted 112kg in her first attempt and then failed to lift 115kg in her second and third attempts.

She finished with a total of 209kg in the event to displace England's Mercy Brown.

Opeloge finished with a total of 243kg while Beauchemin-Nadeau finished with a total of 250kg.

Vueti said Vaivai only took up competitive weightlifting four years ago and she had come a long way since 2010.

"This medal was no fluke because she has been working very hard since she started competing in 2010," he said.

"Those lifters knew that they would be competing at the Commonwealth Games long before Fiji's suspension was lifted and so they had been training for over five years."

Vaivai told the Reporters' Academy after the event that she was nervous and was only expecting a finish in the top 10.

"Before the games I was a bit nervous and really didn't know what was going to happen," she said.

"After the games, I feel really happy, excited and blessed after all that has been done.

"I felt blessed by all the people who have come up to me and congratulated me."

Vueti said Vaivai could give the lifters at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil, a good run for their money.

"The medal is a very proud moment not only for us here at Baba in Levuka but for the whole of Fiji.

"We would also like to thank Paul Coffa for the training he had been giving to her at the Oceania Weightlifting Centre in New Caledonia where she had been training thanks to the IOC Olympic Solidarity Program scholarship," Vueti said.

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