Kiribati had never won a medal of any colour before Katoatau's victory in the 105 kilogram category in weightlifting in Glasgow this summer. He danced his way off the stage, celebrated with a Pacific Islands party in the Athletes' Village, and returned home a hero.
Last month Katoatau toured the islands of Kiribati - 21 of them are inhabited - visiting schools, institutions and local communities to show off his gold medal, demonstrate his skills and show many hundreds of youngsters the basics of weightlifting. The aim was to encourage young people to take up the sport for themselves. The results were remarkable: 1,753 signed up to a talent identification programme, more than half of them girls. That's nearly two per cent of Kiribati's population.
Every year the Oceania Weightlifting Institute organises a sweep of the region looking for promising athletes and promoting the sport. They sign up youngsters who compete locally in weightlifting, which is the most popular sport around the Pacific islands - even more so than rugby.
Those who show the most promise are put forward for elite coaching and the best are taken on by the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in New Caledonia. This year's top performers, selected by their national federations, will have a week's training camp in New Caledonia in December.
They are all funded, as is the talent ID programme and the Oceania Institute, by grants from the International Weightlifting Federation, and National Olympic Committees throughout the Pacific.
"What a phenomenal result," said Paul Coffa, the Australian coach who worked in developing weightlifting in Nauru before moving on to Fiji, Samoa and New Caledonia. He set up the Oceania Institute in 2004.
"David is a national hero because of his Commonwealth Games performance and he put in a lot of work on his tour, but we couldn't have dreamed we'd get this many youngsters taking an interest.
"I'm especially thrilled that so many of them are girls [925, with 828 boys]. We ran the talent programme in 14 countries and overall the numbers were fantastic - 4,338 entries from 166 schools visited. That's almost 1,700 more than last year."
That entire increase is still less than the number recruited by Katoatau, 30, who was been coached by Coffa for more than 10 years. He has now been given an International Olympic Committee (IOC) coaching scholarship and has returned to New Caledonia to work on earning his qualifications. His aim is to and stay in the sport after retiring from competition.
The programme, which started three years ago, has grown year by year. Many of the athletes who have come through the talent-spotting system have competed at the Oceania Championships, Olympic Youth Games, and in Glasgow at this year's Commonwealth Games. There will be plenty more at the next Commonwealth Games, in the Gold Coast in 2018.
"It's truly amazing in that such a short time the national federations have been able to tap in on the work they've done at school level to produce the next generation of champion weightlifters," said Coffa. "Without the financial support of the International Weightlifting Federation and also the Oceania National Olympic Committees, this would not have been possible. This is a unique programme in the world of weightlifting."
Coffa, the most successful coach in Commonwealth Games history, has helped to create a remarkable boom in weightlifting throughout the Pacific islands over the past 20 years. It was prompted by the Commonwealth Games success of another of Coffa's former athletes, Marcus Stephen.
When Stephen won Nauru's first medal in Auckland in 1990 it led to a national holiday being declared. Weightlifting took off and at one point Nauru, with a population of 9,500, had more competitors registered than China. Stephen was President of Nauru for four years and is still a prominent politician, as well as a high-ranking official at the International Weightlifting Federation.
Brian Oliver, author of '"The Commonwealth Games: Extraordinary Stories Behind the Medals", and a former sports editor of The Observer, was weightlifting media manager at London 2012 and Glasgow 2014.