Samoan lifter's gesture towards India's Jeremy Lalrinnunga on the podium wins hearts

Samoa's Vaipava Nevo Ioane honoured India's Jeremy Lalrinnunga with his traditional red coloured flower wreath/necklace at the medal ceremony.

“It is a Samoan magic necklace, which we use for good luck and friendship. Jeremy is my friend and I thought to put in across his neck to wish him luck," the Samoan weightlifter said later as the participants left the venue, with broad smiles on their faces and medals across their necks.

Ioane, who made a desperate, last-ditch attempt to lift 174 kg in his final clean and jerk attempt to leapfrog Lalrinnunga’s total of 300kg and bag the gold medal, said he always felt friendly towards the Indian youngster and therefore decided to place the good-luck and friendship charm around his neck.

“We have been competing against each other in the Commonwealth Championships and other international meets and see him like a friend. When we compete against each other, then I would not like to give him an inch to him and play hard. But after the competition is over, we are friends," said Ioane.

Incidentally, Ioane is 33-year-old while Jeremy is only 19 but the Samoan weightlifter said they were friends as they meet in competitions.

The 2018 Youth Olympic champion dominated the men’s 67kg competition with a total lift of 300kg (140kg+160kg), finishing ahead of Samoa’s Vaipava Nevo Ioane, who managed a total of 293kg (127kg +166kg).

The 19-year-old from Aizwal wrote the Games snatch (140kg) and overall lift (300kg) record in his name but not before an injury scare as twice he grimaced in pain during the clean and jerk attempts.

Jeremy opened up a huge 10kg gap with the nearest rival Edidiong Joseph Umoafia when he lifted 140kg in a successful second attempt. He had begun with 136kg.

Jeremy further targetted 143kg in his final attempt but did not succeed.

In Clean and Jerk, the 2021 Commonwealth Championship winner began with 154kg and followed that up with 160kg, but could not complete the 165kg attempt.


Photo sources News 18