Dika Toua made Olympic history today, as the first female weightlifter to compete at five Olympic Games as she finished 10th out of fourteen (14) athletes.
Toua is not new to making history at the Olympics as back at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games she became the very first female to participate in Olympic weightlifting for females.
Toua competed in the 49kg event, at the Tokyo International Forum, on Saturday morning in the first day of competition at the Games.
Toua, at 37, was the oldest athlete in the field and had to change weight category due to the new Olympic weight categories, at these Games, having formerly lifted in the 53kg category.
The field of 14 athletes included current senior world record holder in the Snatch and Total, Chinese athlete, Zhihui Hou and world record holder in the Clean and Jerk, India’s Chanu Saikhom Mirabai.
Fourteen athletes compete in each weight class, split into two groups based on previous combined personal records (PRs). Those with higher PRs make up Group A, while remaining athletes make up Group B. Group B completes both rounds of competition before Group A begins. Dika was placed in Group B based on her records.
In her first attempt, Toua snatched 69kg followed by 72kg in her second attempt. She had attempted 76kg in her final attempt but was not able to complete the lift to settle for 72kg. In the Clean and Jerk round, Toua attempted 95kgs in her first attempt but was unable to complete the lift. She was able to hold 95kgs in her second attempt. In an attempt to improve her overall total, she had attempted 100kgs however; she was not able to hold on to complete the lift as she settled for 95kgs to finish with a total of 167kg. She finished fourth in Group B and tenth overall after the completion of both Groups.
Toua placed 10th overall with a score of 167kg.
Chef de Mission Tamzin Wardley said, “Everyone was so proud of Dika’s achievements especially as her mentor and longtime coach, Paul Coffa was unable to travel to Japan.
“Dika holds a special place in the hearts of the weightlifting community. After two decades of participation at the highest levels around the world, she is a well-known and much admired personality up on the weightlifting platform”.
“We have members of the press and officials coming up to anyone in a Team PNG uniform to tell us how much they admire her.
“Her role as an ambassador for our country cannot be overstated”.
The gold medal in the event was won by China with a combined total of 210kg.