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Eileen's turn

Paulini Ratulailai
Monday, March 05, 2018

MAKITALENA Cikamatana was on cloud nine when she walked up to receive her daughter's award on Saturday night during the 2017 Fiji Sports Awards in Suva.

She said the few steps from her seat to the main dais to receive her daughter, Eileen's award as the 2017 Fiji Sportswoman of the Year from the President Jioji Konrote, was the longest walk of her life.

Eileen did not attend the event because she is training abroad for April's Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Tears of joy streamed down Makitalena's cheeks during the awards.

She was emotional because her family's sacrifice to help her daughter had crowned a Fijian queen in sports.

"We are behind her 100 per cent since she started training in weightlifting," Makitalena said.

"Eileen has sacrificed so much and I am grateful to all our family members who supported her, whether it would be a small fundraising or anything they will come in and help us achieve Eileen's goal.

"I always tell her to be humble and not to boast about her achievements because at this age and with so much victories, they could also affect her personality.

"We always tell her to be humble."

Saturday night was her daughter's turn to win the top award.

"It is because of work, sacrifice, dedication and perseverance.

"Eileen has been an inspiration to all her siblings and friends. We are all proud of her and we know she will do her best at the Gold Coast next month.

"No matter the result, she will always be our baby lifter. I am so proud of her," she concluded before wiping away her tears.

Eileen has been recognised as the best junior weight-lifter in four international competitions sanctioned by the International Weightlifting Federation.

She is the number one ranked 90kg athlete in the Commonwealth and junior athlete in the world.

The Taviya, Ovalau lass won a gold medal in the fifth Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, gold medal in the Commonwealth Championship, gold medal at the French and Australian Championship in 2017 and three gold medals at the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu last year .

She also set a new Commonwealth Games record in the clean and jerk.

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