Lifters Open Gold Medal Flood Gate

About the author:

Mataeliga Pio Sioa, Newsline Samoa newspaper editor. A veteran journalist in broadcast and print media.

  • GOLD MAKER  Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork,Team Samoa Weightlifting coach and the man behind the golden flow by Samoa in weightlifting
    GOLD MAKER Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork,Team Samoa Weightlifting coach and the man behind the golden flow by Samoa in weightlifting

Team coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork has some medal housekeeping to do next week with weightlifting done and over with for the Pacific Games XVI.

His lifters, in both men and women flooded the medal tally for Samoa since  began stepping up to the Gym 1 competition platform at the Faleata Sports Complex.

The burst of gold medals went into overflow in the last two days of competition that ended yesterday.

Samoa’s medal tally lurked mainly around 6th or 7th place as the week counted down to the weightlifting competition at the weekend.

Before Newsline Samoa went to print last night, Samoa had collected 26 gold, 20 silver and 26 bronze for a total medal count of 72.

New Caledonia was the only country ahead with a total medal tally lead of 92 that included 41 gold.

Samoa was trailing by 15 gold medals.

The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, was among the cheering home crowd at Gym I.  

With him were several of his Cabinet Ministers including the Sports Minister and Chairman of the Pacific Games organising committee, Loau Keneti Sio.

He was smiling sunshine as he walked out of the Gym where Mao Sanele (other story) had just made himself a hero to Samoa, by setting new Games records and hauling off a three gold medals clean sweep.

“Congratulations to all our lifters for such a tremendous effort, “ Loau cheered.

“ But it has not come easy, I saw them train in preparations for the Games and it was quite challenging.

“I take my hat off to [coach] Tuaopepe and his coaching staff, with a special mention also of his Wallwork family, who has contributed so much and continues to put a lot into our weightlifting.”

Coach Tuaopepe set a high mark for his lifters to target during their training and it was a challenge he told Newsline Samoa about, as the countdown to the start of competition closed in.

“"What my philosophy is and what I've told my team is we're going for gold, only gold and nothing else,” a determined Tuaopepe declared in the few days left before the Games.

The medal target was not meant to be boastful or high-minded by the coach but a challenge he knows will  psych up his lifters.

Tuaopepe at the time had so much confidence in his team of lifters he asked to  mark his words with the challenge he has given them.

 “ Every single member is going to go all out 120 percent to win gold medals.”

A final medal count in weightlifting alone for Samoa remains to be finalised.

Before the new medals were won yesterday, the rough count worked out to a total of 42 with 27 of them in gold.

The medal wins are spread out between the Pacific Games, Oceania and Commonwealth competitions that were run simultaneously.

A large contingent of lifters from India competed at the Games but were counted only in the Commonwealth competition category.

The Pacific Games also counted as a legitimate qualifying tournament for the Olympics depending on meeting the eligibility weight for each division category.