A teenage weightlifter from Fiji broke 20 records at the Pacific Cup International in New Caledonia and is a hot favourite to win gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
Eileen Cikamatana, 17, improved on her runners-up performance at the International Weightlifting Federation Junior World Championships in June by 21 kilograms in the Pacific Cup women’s 90kg.
She snatched 110kg, then clean and jerked 140kg for a total of 250kg, better than the totals that won gold for Chinese and Russian lifters at this year’s Asian and European senior championships.
The event, watched by a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in Noumea, is a qualifier for the Commonwealth Games and leaves Cikamatana well clear of her nearest rival in the rankings, which were released yesterday.
“It was a truly astonishing performance,” said Paul Coffa, general secretary of Oceania Weightlifting.
“Eileen looks a certain gold medal for Fiji at the Commonwealth Games next April.
“Five weeks ago, this performance would have given her three gold medals at the World Juniors.”
Cikamatana broke six Oceania records at junior and senior level and four Commonwealth records at the same levels.
“In other words, she rewrote the record books at the age of 17,” said Coffa.
Fiji has only ever won three Commonwealth Games gold medals, all by men in shot put, boxing and judo.