Willy Sweeps Gold For Kiribati

About the author:

Tina Mata'afa-Tufele is a Pasifika journalist that has been writing and covering news related to the Samoan experience for over a decade. She's written for Samoa News in American Samoa, Tuatalatala.com (covering news from Hawaii, the U.S.


Kiribati champion lifter Tebora Willy has bagged three gold medals in a clean sweep of the senior women’s 45kg division in weightlifting.

Willy won topped the two mandatory lifts in the Clean & Jerk (67 points) and Snatch (52 points).

She claimed a gold in each category and picked up a third gold medal for Kiribati for the highest total (119 points).

"We are very proud of our efforts to prepare for this day. We have been preparing for this effort for the past four months and now we see how it came out. We are very proud. We are glad that Tebora did make it to the gold," Kiribati Team Manager Tatiete Kannangaki told Newsline Samoa.

Tebora, 21, is one of six women on the weightlifting team for Kiribati. There are seven men for a total of 13 weightlifters from Kiribati.  About 80 athletes comprise Team Kiribati.

They represent a nation of 100,000, is a group of atoll islands with no hills Kannangaki said. His wife is Taatia Kannangaki, weightlifting coach for Kiribati.

 "Everything is okay. We are seeing a number of new scenes. We don't have mountains in Kiribati, we come from an atoll island. Our athletes are very happy they get to see Samoa," he said.

Willy claimed a total of five medals: three golds in the Pacific Games.

Papua New Guinea's Konio Toua came in second place, next to Willy, with three silver medals.

Daniella Ika won two bronze medals for Nauru and Dayalani Calma won one bronze for Guam.

Willy claimed a fourth gold medal in the Oceania competition and a fifth medal, a bronze, in the Commonwealth competition.

For the fourth gold medal, Willy lifted 53kg, eight kilograms more than her 45kg body weight.

Samoa did not compete on Tuesday. They begin competing in Pacific Games weightlifting, (a 7-in-one event) at Gym 1, on Wednesday.

Aside from the Pacific Games, there are six other competitions going on simultaneously at Gym 1. Previously the Pacific Games weightlifting competition was thought to be a four-in-one.

An official with the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) told Newsline it is actually a 7-in-one.