By Daniel Kerwin, Port Moresby 2015 Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 8 – Samoa surged up the medal table during Tuesday’s Port Moresby 2015 weightlifting action at PNG Power Dome, taking seven of a possible 12 gold medals awarded on the day.
However, hosts Papua New Guinea earned four further golds to maintain its lead atop the weightlifting medal table, led by a stirring performance by local hero Steven Kari (PNG) in the final event of the day.
The host nation has now won 13 weightlifting gold medals in the Games.
The day’s only gold that did not go to either Samoa or Papua New Guinea was earned by Australia’s vision impaired athlete Malek Chamoun, who won gold in the men’s up to 85kg snatch.
In the opening event of the day, Guba Hale (PNG) came close to sweeping all three golds in the women’s up to 69kg event.
Hale’s 83kg snatch was enough to edge past silver medal winner Vanessa Lui’s (SAM) lift of 82kg.
Hale and Lui made identical lifts of 105kg in the clean and jerk, but the gold was awarded to Lui because she weighed in lighter at the start of competition.
Hale still ended up with the overall gold with a total of 188kg compared to Lui’s total of 187kg.
Ruth Anderson Horrell (NZL) earned all three bronzes in the event (76kg snatch, 100kg clean and jerk, 176 overall).
In the men’s up to 85kg division, Chamoun received a huge ovation from the crowd on his way to a gold medal lift of 139kg in the snatch, besting Petunu Opeloge’s (SAM) lift of 138kg.
However, Opeloge turned the tables in the clean and jerk, hoisting 173kg compared to Chamoun’s 172kg to take the gold.
Chamoun and Opeloge ended up with identical totals of 311kg, but Opeloge took the gold as he weighed in just 0.02kg lighter than Chamoun.
Liam Larkins (AUS) took bronze in the snatch (126 kg) and overall (284kg), with Kabuati Bob (MHL) taking bronze in the clean and jerk (162kg).
Chamoun – who is usually guided to the bar by his father George – was ushered to the top of the podium by both teammate Larkins and rival Opeloge in a heartwarming display of sportsmanship.
Another Opeloge dominated the women’s up to 75kg event, as Mary Opeloge (SAM) comfortably swept all three gold medals (106kg snatch, 125kg clean and jerk, 231kg overall).
Apolonia Vaivai (FIJ) earned all three silvers in the event (94kg snatch, 100kg clean and jerk, 204kg overall).
Eden Kambi (PNG) took bronze in the snatch (83kg) and Camilla Fogagnolo (AUS) took the other two bronzes in the clean and jerk (101kg) and overall (183kg).
The arena was packed for the men’s 94kg event at the end of the evening, with the crowd making sure Kari was well aware he had their unfailing support.
But their spirits were dampened when Siaosi Leusio (SAM) lifted 150kg in the snatch, which was good enough for gold after Kari was unable to bear more than 140kg.
Kari more than made up for his opening silver by powering his way to gold in the clean and jerk with a lift of 204kg.
Kari’s effort also earned him overall gold (344kg) as Leusio only managed a clean and jerk of 193kg for an overall total of 343kg, giving him silver in both.
Tanumafili Jungblut (ASA) earned bronze in all three events (132kg snatch, 155kg clean and jerk, 287kg overall).
Weightlifting action will wrap up on Wednesday with three further medal events, the men’s up to 105kg, over 105kg and women’s over 75kg.
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