The unique annual tournament was sponsored by the Oceania Weightlifting Federation (OWF).
Buoyed the gold medal performances of Dika Toua and Morea Baru at the Australian Open International Championships in Australia’s capital Canberra, youngsters poured into the backyard gym of former national coach, Douglas Mea, at Taora for an early morning weigh in ahead of competition.
“The OWF has given all its affiliated member countries in the region two days between February 27 - 29th, to register their lifters into their respective body weight classes, then instantly submit records of performances by male and female lifters via email to the Oceania Headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia,” stated OWF boss and world weightlifting icon, Paul Coffa.
PNG Weightlifting Federation President, Sir John Dawanincura, said from Canberra, based on sheer numbers alone, Papua New Guinea has figured well in this email event in the past, with Douglas Mea’s Taora Weightlifting Club and the Loa Dika Toua Club both winning the title in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Sir John, who is overseeing PNG’s elite lifters perform, said: “PNGWLF executives have hopes of capitalizing on the hype and momentum built by their senior elite athletes Dika Toua, Steven Kari and Morea Baru, to bolster depth in their ranks through junior development.”
Like all other sporting codes, the ‘Achilles Heel’ for weightlifting is the retention of new blood, and keeping youngsters interested and nurtured accordingly, in order for the sport to maintain a sustainable, long term pathway as a leading medal winner for PNG on the international stage.
The Taora gym has long been popular as the pride and joy of the Motu Koitabu people for honing naturally gifted youth into Pacific and Commonwealth Games champions, and given the year, Olympic glory remains the elusive pinnacle achievement for both aspiring and seasoned weightlifters willing to put it all on the line.