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TOUA EYES 6TH OLYMPIC GAMES

By David Susuve

Papua New Guinea’s veteran weightlifter Dika Toua has set her sights on becoming the first female weightlifter in the World to compete at the six Olympic Games.

But the road to Paris is not a walk in the park for the 39-year-old mum as her best chances of qualifying is through continental representation.

To be eligible for Paris, Toua has to compete in the 2023 World Championships in Saudi Arabia, and the 2024 World Cup in Thailand, as well as three of the five qualifying events.

Toua competed at the 2022 International Weightlifting Federation World Championships in Bogota, Colombia, the first qualifying event for the Paris Olympic Games where she finished 24th out of 37 lifters with a total of 165kg.

Toua set the benchmark for the sport as a raw 16-year-old where she was the very first woman to lift at the Olympic Games, in Sydney in 2000.

With history making running in her veins, the Pacific Games and Oceania champion was also the first female weightlifter in the region to be inducted into the international weightlifting federation Hall of Fame.

The mother of two during a chat with Sports Scene said, “it’s hard being a mum and a weightlifter at the same time. I don’t know when I will stop, weightlifting is in my blood.”

With no plans to retire after the Paris Olympics, Toua said she will also be vying for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Australia.

And if she lives to fulfil that, then her career will be a lasting legacy and something that will definitely go down in the history books of the sporting world.

“At the moment, Toua is preparing 5 times a day at her backyard gym in Hanuabada village.

“But I really want to go down to Australia and prepare under international coach Paul Coffa prior to attending the remaining qualifying events,” Toua added.

Recently, Toua was appointed as the first female president of the PNG Weightlifting Federation following the federation’s AGM last month.

Ask what she plans to achieve in her new role; Toua said her vision was to establish a development pathway for future weightlifters in the country.

“I want to retire from the sport on a positive note knowing that some young aspiring lifters will replace me,” she said.

Toua has given her life to weightlifting in the last two decades. She has won countless number of medals at the Pacific, the Mini Pacific Games, and the Oceania Championship.

She also won one gold and two silvers for PNG in the Commonwealth Games and, is also planning to compete at the Pacific Games in Solomon Islands.

Meanwhile, Toua’s international coach Paul Coffa spoke highly of her and her aspiration of qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

“If she does qualify, this will be a well-deserved reward making her the only weightlifter in the world to appear in six Olympic Games,” he said.

Coffa said Toua is strong and her enthusiasm is very high, if she maintains stability, she can go all the way past 2026.

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