How Samoa's homegrown weightlifting heroes are taking on the world and dream of Olympic gold

He was told it couldn't be done.

Now his team is the most successful in the southern hemisphere, with a potential Olympic superstar in its ranks as 23-year-old Don Opeloge knocks on the door of an Olympic gold medal.

ABC Pacific reports at July's Commonwealth Games, where Samoa cleaned up with five weightlifting medals, the Pacific Islanders reminded Australia and New Zealand they're still the best and they did it again when they smashed six Oceania records at the New Zealand Championships last month.

IWF honours weightlifting coach, administrator Paul Coffa

Coffa was inducted at a Special Congress of the International Weightlifting Federation held in Bogota Colombia this week.

He is the first person ever to be inducted to the IWF Hall of Fame for outstanding achievement in the field of coaching and his record is truly remarkable.

In a career spanning 57 years, Paul Coffa has

Samoa scoops another 2 silver medals in weightlifting

Jack Hitila Opeloge finished in second place in the Men’s 109kg final after finishing with a lift of 164kg in the snatch attempt and lifted 194kg in his first clean and jerk attempt.

The 21-year-old lifted a total of 358kg.

Feagaiga Stowers won Samoa’s other silver medal in the Women’s 87kg final.

She lifted 117kg in her first snatch attempt and 121 in the third attempt.

Stowers then lifted 147kg in her first clean and jerk attempt.

Samoa is now currently ranked 16th in the medal tally with 1 gold and 3 silver medals.


Weightlifter Don Opeloge wins Samoa’s first ever Commonwealth Games Gold medal

The 23-year-old has not only won the Men’s Weightlifting 96kg category but also has set a new Commonwealth Games record.

Opeloge broke the games record in the snatch with a lift of 171kg.

He also went on to set another Commonwealth Games record and a personal best of 210kg for the clean and jerk.

Don Opeloge will be the name to remember in the sport after he lifted a total of 381kg to set the new Commonwealth Games record for the men’s 96kg category.


Dika Toua hopeful of snatching Games medal for PNG

Toua will be in action at the Games in the women's 53kg category at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England.

Weightlifting will begin its competition on Saturday local time.

"My aim is to do my best and hopefully win a medal, that is the number one priority going into this competition," Toua, who win silver in 2018, told the Post Courier.

"Whether I win a silver or a gold medal, it doesn't matter, the biggest thing is winning and making my family and the nation proud of my achievement."

Call for expansion of Samoa's financial incentive

TV1Samoa reports Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork made the call after Team Samoa returned this week from the Pacific Mini Games in Saipan.

The weightlifters returned with six gold and three silver taking the Team Samoa tally to 21, with eight golds, five silver, and eight bronze medals.

The previous government had introduced financial incentives for sports people to win gold at the Commonwealth and Olympics Games.

The scheme is still in place but Tuaopepe would like to see it made available to regional competitions as well.

Samoa bags more medals in weightlifting

The team has added another two medals to their medal tally.

Lesila Fiapule won gold in the Snatch in the Women’s 87+kg category.

Her teammate, 15 year old Imoasina Pelenato won bronze in the same category.

With the latest results, Samoa now has 5 gold, 1 silver and 5 bronze in the overall medal tally. 


Samoa’s Opeloge family shines in weightlifting

Fauustina Opeloge has scooped 3 gold medals in the 81kg category.

 The 17-year-old won gold for the Oceania Senior Championships, and set three new Oceania Youth Records.

The sport is nothing new to the youngster, as she is the daughter of Samoa’s Commonwealth Games gold medalist champion lifter, Tupuola Niusila Opeloge.

Also making a name for herself is Faustina’s cousin, Avatu Opeloge, who won three bronze medals in Women’s 76kg category.

Samoa now climbs up the overall medal tally to eighth place with 4 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze.


Meet the Opeloges: Samoa's first family of weightlifting

It all started in 1999 when eldest brother Niusila Opeloge took up weightlifting. Three years later he was a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist.

Ele Opeloge followed in the footsteps of her brother and in 2010 the siblings made history by winning gold medals on the same day at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

10 of the 12 Opeloge siblings have gone on to represent Samoa in international weightlifting competitions and Ele said the sport was very much a family affair.

"This talent (comes) from God," she explained.

Samoa weightlifters win Oceania League Cup Tournament

The Samoan weightlifters had great performances throughout the nine rounds and won every single match.

Australia had a very consistent team that won eight of the nine rounds and came in second. 

In third place was New Zealand, another consistent team right throughout the tournaments winning seven of the nine rounds.    

The tournament ran for nine months virtuallly due to travel restrictions associated with the global Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 140 weightlifters from the Oceania region participated.

The prizes won by the countries are as follows:•